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FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC 



A PILGRIMAGE, 



DC 



FOOTSTEPS 



OF 



JEANNE D'ARC 



A PILGRIMAGE 



BY 



^^^■^'' 



MRS. FLORENCE CADDY. 

Community E,2C, A. 



' The life of Jeanne d'Arc is like a legend in the midst of history.' 

Wallon. 



IN OXE VOL UME. 



LONDON: 

HURST AND BLAOKETT, PUBLISHERS, 

13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET. 

1886. 

All Rif flits Reserved. 



HAROLD B. LEE LIBRARY 

BRIG HAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY 

PROVG, UTAH 



CONTENTS. 



INTRODUCTION. 



CHAPTER 

I. DOMREMY 



BOOK I. 



THE CALL, 




The Church 
IL Jeanne d'Arc's Country and Home 

III. Journey to Vaucouleurs . 

IV. TouL and Nancy .... 
V. Through the Heart of France . 

VI. Arrival at Chinon 



PAGE 

o 
O 

23 
40 
60 
72 
93 



BOOK IL 

THE TRIUMPH. 

VII. The Trial at Poitiers 

VIIL The Loire 

' IX. The Maid of Orleans .... 

X. A Wonderful Week. — Jargeau and Patay 

XI. The Coronation at Rheims . 



123 
150 
166 
201 

217 



BOOK III. 

THE TRAGEDY. 

XII. The Abbey of St. Denis 249 

XIII. The King's Retreat. — Campaign on the Upper 

Loire 279 

XIV. The Royal Idol broken.— The Forest of Fon- 

tainebleau 300 

XV. Compiegne 314 

XVI. The Prisoner of Le Crotoy .... 333 

XVII. Journey to Rouen 346 

APPENDIX 365 



?,SS»'*' 



INTRODUCTION. 



Through thy cornfields green, and sunny vines, oh, pleasant land of France.' 



The traveller from England in quest of scenes of 
excitement, or change from the bustle of too eager 
life, has just wearied himself over the plains of Belgium 
or the north of France without finding either the sub- 
limity or the calm he sought. He has just settled him- 
self down to a comfortable discontent until he shall 
reach Switzerland or Italy, or it may be the East, which 
will give him either the stir or the repose he craves, 
when he comes upon a gentle landscape of hill and dale, 
the cradle of two well-known rivers. If he can curb his 
inipatience so far as to examine it more closely, this 
region will give him the elements of the change he needs, 
which he may find in no greater completeness if he 
travel further afield in search of stimulus or repose. 
More and more we are learning to feel that it matters 
little how far off we go ; we cannot leave this earth 
whose distant parts we know so prosaically much about, 
and we cannot quit our own shell. The best part of 
our knowledge is that which makes our home more 



viii INTRODUCTION. 

spacious, and peoples it with the soul-friends whom we 
have known by name from infancy, whom we should 
be glad to know more intimately, whom we Avould wil- 
lingly turn from shadows into statues and pictures. 

Here the dead level of the north of Europe first 
breaks into the outlying billows which Nature has 
tossed into the petrified tempest of the Alpine chain. 

The stately front of Rheims has reminded the traveller 
by train of the heroine of the fifteenth century, and, with 
a pause of pity for her fate, he passes on to some other 
drift of thought — to the risks to man in woman's suf- 
frage, possibly. 

Before he dives deeper into this drift, it will do him no 
harm to rub up his recollections of Joan of Arc, and to 
try if all the histories he has read have given her equal 
personality with the myths of early fable, or the beings 
of fiction created out of smoke. Though he may have a 
strong opinion as to the nature of her spiritual claims, 
he may find his conception of her character dim and 
broken as a reflection upon the surface of a rufiled lake, 
and his liveliest impression of her produced after all by 
actual pictures. 

He who remembers the late lamented Bastien Lepage's 
picture of Jeanne d'Arc,* — arid who that has seen it does 
not remember it ? — must want to probe deeper into that 
wonderful life, that whichever way you read it is full of 
mystery and glory. 

Lepage, born in the department of the Meuse, natur- 

* It was exhibited in the triennial exhibition at Ghent in 1880, the 
year it was painted. It was sent from New York to be exhibited at 
the collection of Bastien Lepage's works in Paris, 1885. 



INTRODUCTION. ix 

ally had keen feeling for this subject of Jeanne 'Arc, as 
well as love for the soft Meuse landscape. His picture is 
a great work in every respect. Jeanne stands under an 
apple-tree in a green orchard, in the bloom of a spring such 
as no one has more perfectly represented on canvas than 
Lepage. She has turned away her head thoughtfully, 
in reverent amazement and self-questioning from the 
vision, which is still visible, and wonderfully painted. 
Her cottage, surrounded by faithfully-studied trees, forms 
the background. 

The face and figure of the girl are a marvel of mixed 
expression, one reads the dram a of her life upon her counte- 
nance. She leans against the tree-stem as if all strength 
had left her, she is so completely in the spirit as to be 
taken out of herself; yet withal there is no tinge of the 
pre-Raffaellite ecstacy or asceticism. The vision is too 
real for inquiry : she accepts a destiny. Her dress, when 
at last we think of it, is brown with a lavender-coloured 
jacket laced in front, showing white linen. Her spin- 
ning-wheel stands near. The vision shines between the 
cottage and the trees in the exact situation marked by 
tradition, for the landscape is a copy of the actual scene. 
The mystic figures are those of a knight (St. Michael) in 
golden armour holding out a sword ; a female saint, 
wreathed with roses, clasps her hands imploring, another 
kneels weeping. For all that it is most dreamlike and 
supernatural, the painting is full of a wonderful realism, 
and, like all Lepage's vigorous handling, the figure of 
Jeanne is actual and solid. It brings the real woman 
before us. I do not know if the figure is a portrait, but 
it is very like one of the young girls of Domremy. 



X INTROBUCTION. 

It is difficult with words to vivify Jeanne's image as 
Lepage has done it in painting, yet I will try^_to do it if 
my reader will trace with me the path of her interesting 
hfe. I know the way, having travelled the red route in 
this map, nearly inch by inch : much of it on foot, no- 
where in a hurry, sometimes alone, sometimes' more 
gaily, accompanied by friends or by members of my 
family. I do not, however, propose to obtrude my 
personal narrative upon the reader. If I cannot place 
Jeanne before him, 1 can at least point out the things she 
saw, the surroundings among which she moved. I am 
setting before my readers the plain facts, just the things 
that they probably do not know, if they have browsed 
like giraiFes among the higher branches of history, the 
poets and such-like. As a military leader studies the 
nature of his ground, I think much might be gained 
by treating history geographically. If I chatter too 
much the reader can shut me up and put me in his pocket. 

We will just get upon our ground, and afterwards we 
will not travel much by train, which is a poor way of 
seeing the country. My purpose did not allow of my 
being hampered by any vehicle of my own, but a 
double tricycle is a capital conveyance for two who 
like to talk. These French roads are eminently good 
for the cyclist. 

Leaving Chalons by the side of the long rows of pop- 
lars bordering its canal, parallel with the more prettily 
and naturally wooded banks of the Marne, which is 
pea-soup coloured here by the weir, where the fish leap 
up so numerously, we begin to enjoy the country. The 
light, friable soil is warm in colour, ranging from creamy 



INTRODUCTION. • xi 

white to golden gravel streaked with rich, foxy hues. 
The low land is marshy, the water willowy : the mellow- 
ing woods are flushed with autumn's crimson. The nar- 
rowing Marne becomes rapid between the hills, spreading 
again as they widen out. Amber trees rear their heads 
against the blue sky, banded with light. The train 
moves slowly over the partially-flooded meadows stock- 
ed with geese and herds of cattle, some tawny, some 
white, and some dove coloured steers like the oxen in 
the south, all feeding among the autumn crocuses. 

These hills are the Argonnes, eastern and western, 
/ made famous by Dumouriez as the Thermopylaa ot 
France, and made classical by Thiers in his ' History of the 
Consulate and the Empire.' Here is red-roofed Loisy- 
sur-Marne among the vineyards in the chalk hills, and 
soon comes Vitry-le-Francois, with its pinnacled square 
tower and the red roofs of its church, which is also 
bristling with pinnacles, and the land levels itself again 
and the sun waxes hotter. Here is the full tide of vin- 
tage going on. Busy vintagers carry funnel-shaped 
baskets at their backs, full of purple grapes, and empty 
them into carts, while other men in blouses and women are 
breakfasting under the cherry and plum-trees. The hill 
slopes are all vineyarded, except where they rise crested 
with fir and beech and many-coloured trees. Clear 
young rilling rivers, with women washing linen in them, 
flow among this sweet Vosges landscape, and now we see 
the yellow Marne again. Now we get among the oolite 
hills and woods, richer than ever with colour in this 
pleasant hilly country of Val d'Osne, and as fully stocked 
with white cattle. 



xii INTRODUCTION. 

Here is Joiiiville, and here, if strong and able to enjoy 
a walk, I should advise the tourist to leave the train and 
strike across the hills by way of the old Roman amphi- 
theatre at Grand, and drop upon the valley of the 
Meuse, halting for rest and thought at the retired and 
peaceful village of Domremy-la-Pucelle. Little luggage 
will be needed, no best clothes. 

If circumstances are different and walking impracti- 
cable, he had better go on from Joinville to Bologne, 
where, while roaming about the fields between the 
trains, he will have the opportunity of feeling the 
southern force of the sun. Change into the train 
(northward) for Neufchateau, and at Neufchateau 
change again for Maxey-Domremy, and walk across 
the meadows, with streamlets in them, mind you, tribu- 
taries of the Vair, which it is not always easy to cross, 
to the birthplace of Jeainie d'Arc. Murray says ' it is a 
hot walk across fields to Domremy. Little to be seen 
there.' Let us go and look. 

Peep at the little church and the outside of Jeanne 
d' Arc's house before putting up at the tiny Hotel de la 
Pucelle, where you will get fresh milk when madame 
has ' pulled the cow,' but where they will probably have 
nothing, raw nor cooked, in the house for your choice, 
except eggs, but they will forage for you among the 
farms and make you comfortable in their primitive way 
with goodwill and attention ; and, having things better 
than luxury, one is happy, even though the basin one has 
to use for a footbath is about the size and inconvenience 
of a soup-plate. 

There is another small inn further up the village, 



INTROD UCTl ON. xiii 

neater but not so well situated. You can walk about 
there or sit on the bridge (of fifteen arches) watching the 
early moonlight playing on the Meuse while your room 
and supper are being prepared. They will probably fish 
the first course fresh from the Meuse for you, and slay for 
you a fowl, a barn-door mongrel, which they will serve 
like a frog lying on its back with a very long neck and 
pinions displayed ; but, with sauce a la grand'faim, it is 
very good, and there are • worse pleasures in life than 
waiting for and relishing a supper of this sort. 

All the better if the place is primitive ; it is so, and 
it carries you back four hundred years or more, to the 
time of Joan of Arc herself. One sees the very way 
in which she lived and was brought up. The girls who 
pass you leading their cows home from pasture, or car- 
rying a pitchfork, do so with an air, a dignity of manner 
that bespeaks the countrywomen of a heroine. 

The little Joans of Arc, some of them pretty, all neat 
and clean with their close white caps and azure grey 
pinafores, rush out of chnrch or school, clattering their 
sabots, eager to play, yet still more anxious* to stop and 
look at strangers with their wonderful clothes and paint- 
boxes. For a stranger is a novelty ; the train truly 
brings many French pilgrims, but these sweep through 
Joan's cottage and the church, cross themselves, sneer 
at the statue in the grove, which certainly lends itself 
well to criticism, light their cigars, and are off again by 
the next train. 

The place seems to have slept, no, not slept, but sim- 
ply wrought and rested for four hundred years. There 
is time to enjoy oneself in it. The village clock outside 



xiv TNTRODUCTTON. 

remains stationary at eight for hours sometimes, until 
the verger remembers to wind it up again for evening 
church : the neighbouring parish clock at Greux has the 
same habit ; but when they clo tick one can usually hear 
it, the place is so quiet ; and the striking is an event. 
Who ever heard St. Paul's clock tick, I wonder ; except 
our country-cousins who climb up on purpose ? 

The Domremy church clock has a convenient practice 
of striking twice, in case you should have forgotten to 
count the first time. It has only one hand, for people here 
do not shave time to a quarter-of-an-hour or so ; they leave 
a good margin of half-an-hour to catch a train in, and then 
foster patience ; for the trains take a long time to crawl 
over a very little bit of way, stopping a long while at 
each station, after they have slackened the pace for half- 
a-mile before reaching it, for fear of collision with a train 
that has not yet started from Pagny-sur-Meuse, the junc- 
tion. This gives the station-master time to cease weed- 
ing his cabbages and dress himself to receive passengers. 
It will be understood that there are no express trains, 
and the railway has not caused much change in the 
habits of the people. 

This calm, easy life is soothing after our metropolitan 
hurry. Yes, one is really carried back four hundred and 
fifty years ; simplicity of life, especially of the pastoral 
sort., and the natural features and by-paths of a rural 
landscape, are among the most immutable things that our 
earth knows. 

Here in Lorraine too we are on the borders of a for- 
eign land whose contiguity has taught both peoples 
warfare, as it did four centuries ago. Yet, for all that it 



TNTRODUCriON. xv 

has been so often the frontier of war, Nature rights her- 
self and heals the wounds. We see Jeanne d'Arc's life 
and her surroundings just as plainly as we see her actual 
dwelling ; indeed, they are less altered. 

The wild flowers, charming, and several of them new 
to us, are the very same that Jeanne twined into gar- 
lands for the ' beautiful May ;' the cloud-berries and the 
grapes grow where they then did ; Jeanne's favourite 
vineyard haunt is still the ' vignoble de Jeanne d'Arc' 
War may pass over the land again and again, but the 
peace of poverty remains to it, — that poverty which is 
industrious contentment ; not squalor, not wretchedness, 
but perhaps the most blessed condition of any, the very 
condition of life which our Saviour sanctified by holding 
it here upon earth. 

We ate our newly-beaten butter with our breakfast 
at what seemed the late hour of eight, reasonable enough 
at home, here it felt disgracefully idle. 

The early church-service was over and the dense 
white mist, which makes the spiders' webs hke patterns 
strung in pearls, was lifting over the hill ranges and 
melting in the blaze of day. 

Again I seemed to see Jeanne d'Arc herself among 
the young women with their long sticks or whips, leading 
their cows with tinkhng bells afield. 

I pictured her in a tall, finely-formed girl with her 
head set with commanding poise upon her shoulders, 
who returned my gaze with another full of modesty 
and pride, as if she said, 'Yes, Jeanne was one of us.' 
Her head only covered with her crown of thick braided 
hair, her figure with a short skirt and blue-grey 'caraco;' 



xvi INTRODUCTION. 

she needed no other adornment while she had her yonth, 
strength, and beauty of health and fearlessness. She car- 
ried her pitchfork like a sceptre. 

We learn more by getting hold of the personality of 
good and great people, than by merely reading of them 
at second-hand through those who have only sought 
them in dusty folios. ' Life is the best commentary 
upon abstract truth,' says Sir Emilius Bayley. ' Life 
brings truth home to us, shows us how others have 
fought and conquered.' 



BOOK I. 

THE CALL 



B 



CHAPTER I. 



DOMREMY. — THE CHURCH. 



' J'avais treize ans ; c'etait en ete, vers midi, dans le jardin de mon 
pere, et je n'avais pas jeune la veille. J'entendis cette voix a ma 
droite, vers Teglise, et j'en eus grand'peur.' (' I was thirteen ; it was 
in summer, towards midday, in my father's garden, and I had not 
fasted the day before. I heard this voice at my right hand, by the 
church, and I had great fear of it.') 

Evidence of Jeanne (TArc. 

Epiphany morning of 1412 dawned, in the ex- 
treme east of France, with the maiden's birth who 
was to fill the whole realm with the radiance of 
faith, and revive hope in a crushed nation : her 
birth who raised all womanhood in her person, to 
whom succeeding generations of women have been 
able to point as an example of what the female 
sex, at its best, is capable in the lines of heroism, 
patriotism, and self-devotion. An Amazon with- 
out cruelty, a heroine who never lost her woman- 
hood, a patriot who sought no self-advancement, 
a prophetess who proclaimed only the power of 
God. Ant. Astezan, of Asti in Piedmont, first 
secretary of the Duke of Orleans, who wrote in 
1435, says Jeanne d'Arc was born at the Epi- 

B 2 



4 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

phany. He is a trustworthy authority, who had 
good means of being exact. Much of the super- 
natural in her storv is the fruit of divers authors' 
Infaoination. Yet more marvellous is the truth. 

Ten centuries of sleep were ended, and, herald- 
ed by this extraordinary girl, mankind rose to 
clear away an accumulation of injustices and 
wrongs, preparing the world for a new epoch, an 
aurora of dazzling inventions, discoveries, and 
results. The poets, Dante, Petrarch, Chaucer, 
led the way for the discoverers and experimen- 
talists, Columbus and the printers; but the pro- 
phets and earliest reformers woke first, and, in 
homely phrase, opened the windows and lighted 
the tires, and let in the light of truth to show the 
path of duty. Among these was Jeanne d'Arc. 
We, w^ho live in a time when the world's man- 
hood is relapsing effete into its second childhood, 
with garrulity as its characteristic, can scarcely 
conceive the flood of awakened energy that was 
bursting, not only its night coverings, but all 
bounds of home and city, to rush impetuous 
through all distances. 

The dark ages, the dispensation of martyrs, 
ended in a blaze of glorious light. One female 
figure closed it in, ' the light of ancient France.' 
She began that crusade of patriotism for freedom, 
that claim of independent nationality in Chris- 
tendom, which has since been bequeathed from 
bleeding sire to son. This was the close of the 
Gothic age. Is the Renaissance that followed a 
mimicry of the past, or an earnest of the millennial 



DOMREMY.—THE CHURCH. 5 

glory ? Probably both ; as in all things earthly, 
good and evil grow together until the harvest. 

Believers in Jeanne d' Arc's spiritual preten- 
sions regard her as the culmination of the religi- 
ous faith and superstition of her age, and all the 
dark ages, ere Dante and Columbus gave new eyes 
to Europe : a view certainly interesting to Hibbert 
lecturers. 

I wish rather to show the human side of 
her character, believing that God works witli 
us by human means, using natural causes, and 
that He chooses His human instruments in the 
same way, with deep reverence be it spoken, that 
a wise man chooses his colleagues, a skilled work- 
man his tools, or a sagacious monarch his coun- 
sellors. It is a selection of the fittest for the 
work which He is to direct. The task required 
obedience and faith. Again the Lord sought 
these in a woman ; again the woman's answer was 
according to the pure and good woman's nature : 
^ Behold the hand-maid of the Lord.' 

But the task also needed strength of body, a 
body trained in the routine and endurance of 
pastoral life, united to the highest qualities of 
the soul, a receptiveness and steadfastness of mind 
incompatible with the overloaded and easily-upset 
brain, the mind driven about with every wind of 
doctrine blown upon it from every book. A 
woman was the best instrument for the purpose 
of closino^ the Ion 2: Avar. The whole of Jeanne 
d' Arc's campaign shows that this work of liber- 
atino; France was meant to be carried out without 



6 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

bloodshed : it was the unfaith and wavering of 
rulers brought on the battles that the blind bru- 
tality of men precipitated. 

Wherever Jeanne was permitted to go forward 
in the way the spirit led her, towns capitulated 
and armies melted away at her approach. We 
know she was often frustrated ; yet, for all the 
wilfulness of men, the Lord of hosts showed in a 
marked way His saving power. God knew His 
purpose of mercy would be unvalued, and chose 
a fit instrument for all contingencies in a strong, 
healthy human girl — yes, Chadband notwithstand- 
ing, a thoroughly human girl ; no divinity, still 
less a monstrosity or walking miracle ; no epi- 
leptic nor maniac dreamer, but a healthy mind 
in a perfectly developed frame ; a tirm, self-reliant 
character with steady nerves, subject to no hys- 
terical hallucinations. 

This is opposed to the general opinion of Jeanne 
d'Arc, but I hope to show it true from history 
and a careful view of the situations in which she 
was placed. Without claiming for her any of 
the Messianic attributes which Henri Martin — 
who, with singular inconsistency, seems to be- 
lieve in little else of supernatural — almost blas- 
phemously assigns to Jeanne d'Arc ; again with 
deep reverence I dare to say, her short life showed 
how a woman may closely follow the Saviour, 
from working life through childhood and youth 
to martyrdom ; mingling with all ranks, yet loving 
her brethren the most ; usurping no higli sphere, 



DOMREMY.—THE CHURCH, 7 

ambitious of no sovereignty, growing up in 
favour with God and man. 

Hume, improving upon the Burgundian Mon- 
strelet, and following Voltaire, says Jeanne was 
twenty-seven years old when she went to Chin on ; 
all other authorities agree that she was only seven- 
teen at that time, except a short biography of her, 
fuller of mistakes than facts, published in the 
Guardian in the last century as one of a series 
of ' Famous Women of the World,' which gives 
the date of her birth as 1407. The Encydopo^dia 
Britannica blindly follows this so-called history of 
Jeanne almost word for word in its article on France. 

' The middle ages,' says Henri Martin, ' devel- 
oped two great types of w^omanhood, the lady- 
love and the ascetic Madonna.' Neither of these 
was Jeanne d'Arc. And Michelet, vividly describ- 
ing the epoch, points out that ' the agricultural 
population, which now seems incapable even of 
the blindly ferocious impulse of the Jacquerie, 
brings forth Jeanne d'Arc' 

The village of Domremy — it is scarcely more 
than a hamlet — lies at the foot of a hill whose 
table-land, called the ' Haut Pays,' stretches aw\ay 
far westward, until it forms the first slopes of the 
Champagne vineyards. It is a little commune of 
one hundred and five houses, wdth two hundred 
and seventy-five inhabitants, whose numbers are 
annually decreasing. In 1856 they were three 
hundred and twenty souls : a loss of forty-five 
out of so small a population is a significant fact, 



8 F001\STEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

especially when there is no apparent misery or 
unhealthiness to cause it. Do the towns really 
absorb the country population everywhere in like 
proportion ? Tf so, it is time to change our teach- 
ing, and for our philosophers to persuade the 
world that it makes a bad bargain in exchanging 
every bodily comfort, all the beauty of life, for 
the gratification of having so many extra coins 
slip through the fingers on Saturday afternoon. 

But I must not be coaxed away from following 
the footsteps of Jeanne d'Arc, or Jeannette, as 
she was baptized and always called in her own 
country, in her childhood's rambles, in the scenes 
of her earliest day-dreams, where she played and 
danced with her little sister Catherine, and her 
young friends Mengette and Hauviette, and worked 
and prayed in all the sweet piety of childhood. 
With them we will walk through the Bois Ches- 
nu, where a chapel, a sort of temple of white 
stone, is newly built to the memory of the maid 
among the vineyards, interspersed with apple- 
trees, bordering on the woods where Jeanne heard 
holy voices in groves haunted by the relics of a 
pagan superstition. These glowing woods are now 
mellowing into autumn beneath the tinted hill- 
tops, known in old maps as the King's Forest, 
with trees turning to orange and purply brown ; 
Jeanne's much-loved native woods, Nature's own 
cloistered churches, pierced in the diagonal sun- 
shine with translucent hues of oold and flame 
and russet green. 

The path turns downwards from the new white 



DOMREMY.—THE CHURCH, 9 

temple across the mushroomed meadows to Cous- 
sey, a neighbouring village, large enough to boast 
a post-office and a gendarmerie naiionale ; where 
there is a statue of Jeanne d'Arc near the wash- 
ing fountain, and also a pretty church, whose 
round-arched door, with clog-toothed mouldings, 
and three-storied Romanesque tower, remain as 
they existed in her time. These objects, and the 
coned towers of the chateau of Bourlimont on the 
hill beyond, form a pleasing picture, of which the 
only things unfamiliar to Jeanne would be her 
own statue and the zinc tricolour flag. One can 
figure to oneself the tall, well-formed maiden, 
' moult belle, of great strength and power,' as all 
her neio:hbours witnessed of her. walkins: throuo:h 
these fields, fearless among the horned cattle 
browsing here, where great tawaiy bulls come to 
drink at the large pond which often floods the 
road. Fear is a form of emotion unknown in 
Jeanne d'Arc's country. 

There is much cattle in these meadows, some 
black and white, some spotted like our Guernseys, 
less shapely elegant than the Alderneys, some 
dove-coloured or tawny, with dark velvet muzzles 
and deep-blue calm eyes, mildly inquiring. 
Jeanne calls them with that sweet voice of 
hers — a true woman's voice, say those who heard 
its mild, firm tones. 

They are always ready to talk and tell all they 
know, these good people, now as in the time 
when messengers were sent round the country- 
side gathering up gossip of the heroine at the 



10 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

times of her trial and her rehabilitation, when, 
however, they heard nothing but good of her ; or 
in Jeanne's own childhood, Avhen these people of 
Coussey pointed to the villages of Happoncourt- 
au-Pied and Moncel on the hill-side, both famous 
for a siege in 1372, sustained against the people 
of Metz, in which men and women alike defended 
themselves victoriously. Doubtless Jeanne had 
heard of this ; it was recent enough, and such 
exploits last long for talk. 

M. Simeon Luce, in a valuable article on 
' Jeanne d'Arc at Domremy ' in the ' Revue des 
Deux Mondcs,' May, 1885, points out how Jeanne 
grew up in a time of effervescence of public feel- 
ing in the valley, caused by the marriage of 
Jeanne de Joinville, the young French heiress of 
the lordships of Greux and Domremy, to a Lor- 
raine noble, Henri d'Ogeviller. The villages held 
fast their nationality and their allegiance to the 
fleurs-de-lis, and declined to be transferred to the 
foreign suzerainte. 

How these Coussey people gossip ! This shows 
friendliness and leisure. We only gossip now by 
newspaper : society papers in our class, more sen- 
sational prints in a lower rank — both bad ; ours, 
perhaps, the meanest and most frivolous, theirs 
more transpontine and vulgar. We cannot give 
up our gossip, though its friendliness is lost. 
Here white-haired men have time to laucfh and 
chat. It should be thus. Life should not be so 
hard but that white-haired men in blouses can sit 
and rest and talk over old times with their old 



DOMREMY.~THE CHURCH. 11 

friends. The little maidens, having changed their 
grey felt slippers for sabots, come clattering out 
of school, yet pretending to hide from the boys, 
who have been for the last five minutes all agog 
for mischief, and all have a little merriment before 
supper-time. 

The good 'route nationale,' leading from Cous- 
sey home to Domremy, lined with grey-stemmed 
poplars, brings fofward from the distance the 
spires of foliage which group so well under the 
moonlight by the Meuse, where the bends and 
eddies of the puzzling network of rivers at Dom- 
remy give an appearance of islets, ' a mazy world 
of silvery enchantment,' its topography rendered 
still more perplexing by the vertical reflections 
of some of the tall stems in the water, and the 
oblique shadows of others on the grass ; the play 
of half-luminous shade and glinting lights below 
emulating the translucent calm of heaven and her 
glittering stars. Among these tangled lights and 
shades sails the glory of the moon, dazzling and 
darkening, hiding and enhancing, outshining the 
lesser lights ; as the broader current of the Meuse, 
sparkling like a silver riband with fringed edges, 
moves paramount among all these mill-streams 
and backwaters and rivulets which have no name 
beyond the hills among which they bubble 
forth. 

Nature is full of play and laughter too, and we 
are in the middle of it standin": on the bridire. 
The scene is just as pleasant by daylight, when 
kingfishers haunt these waters and gleam like 



12 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

sapphires among the sedges ; the Me use rustles 
sparkling over its Aveir beside the poplars in these 
meadows where the ducks live so happily, and 
geese and horses feed in the w^ide, woven-fenced 
fields between the river and the railway. The 
spiring groves of distant elm and poplar are thrown 
out by the white clouds above the pointed tourelles 
of the Prince de Bourlimont's chateau (the same 
family lived there in Jeanne d'Arc's time), before 
which rises the slope of the Bois Chesnu and the 
Vineyard of Jeanne d'Arc. Tufted trees and 
bushes with clumps of poplar fringe the right 
side of the meadows, lying like a Mesopotamia 
between the mill-stream and the Meuse. 

These foreground meadows seem to be an 
island of the Meuse, though one is never sure of 
the topography hereabout, it is not apparent on 
the surface, its mystery has to be unravelled. The 
trees agreeably break the long line of hill of the 
Bois Chesnu, where the purple of distance disputes 
its colour with the gold of autumn foliage. Above 
the foreground sedges a little green orchard, the 
orchard of Bastien Lepage's well-known picture, 
lies between us and the first cottages of the vil- 
lage ; their tiled roofs, grey with age, aifording 
perches to the pigeons whose nests are in the 
church eaves. The white, rough-cast cottages 
reflect themselves in what looks from here like 
a third branch of the river, which one thinks may 
be the mill-stream, but one is not sure of it till 
afterwards. This little river is important in de- 
termining Jeanne's nationalitv, which hns caused 



DOMREMY.—THE CHURCH. 18 

SO many disputes among historians who know the 
map but not the place, and who cannot, for that 
reason, take into consideration the double poli- 
tical jurisdiction over this frontier land in the 
fifteenth century. 

To the left and north of this rivulet, in the 
direction of Greux, it Avas Champagne, and of 
course France ; to the right and southward, on 
the side of Neufchateau, the land, belonging to the 
Duchy of Bar, was part of Lorraine. This latter, the 
more considerable portion of the village, contained 
the house and the church of the D'Arc family, 
and was of Lorraine nationality. But as this 
territory belonged to the Duchy of Bar, royal or 
' mouvant,' of which the King of France was 
suzerain, the Dukes of Bar having been French 
vassals since the time of Philip the Fair, Jeanne 
was verily and truly the liege subject of the King 
of France. 

Rene d'Anjou, Duke of Bar, married in 1419 
the heiress of Charles, Duke of Lorraine. While 
retaining its rights, customs, and privileges, the 
Duchy of Bar followed the destinies of Lorraine. 
The new duke, being brother-in-law to the Dau- 
phin, Charles VIL, sympathised openly or at heart 
with the cause Jeanne d'Arc espoused; so that in 
no case can she be truly said to have acted against 
the cause of her country, her king, her feudal 
lord the Duke of Bar, nor the Archbishop of 
Rheims, of whose metropolitan church Domremy 
was a dependency. 

This village was called Domremy-sur-Meuse to 



14 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

distinguish it from Domremy-la-Canrie and Dom- 
remy-aux-Bois, situated more to the northward. 
It is now known to the whole Avorld as Domremy- 
la-Pucelle, named, as the Abbe Bourgaut, cure of 
the parish, says, from St. Remi, father of the 
French monarchy and the inspired maid who 
saved it from ruin. 

The little watercourse that' separates the two 
territories is called the Brook of the Three Foun- 
tains, from its triple spring at the west of Dom- 
remy. Since the beginning of the eighteenth 
century, its course has been altered ; it nowre-unites 
its waters, divided for a short space, and falls into 
the mill-stream very near the present bridge over 
the Meuse, almost in front of Jeanne d'Arc's house. 

The hill of the Bois Chesnu ends at this point, 
sloping downward and away in graceful lines, open- 
ing up another hill behind Jeanne d'Arc's house, 
which is screened from us here by a grove of larches 
and spruce iirs round the railed statue (bust), 
which is perhaps the worst that has ever been 
modelled of the Maid of Orleans, with its fea- 
thered head-dress and costume of the fashion of 
Louis XVIII. 's time, as libellous and contrary to 
fact as most of her so-called biographies. 

The next object in the view is the church, its 
tiled roofs and gabled-ended tower surmounted 
by a plain stone cross of Calvary. To the left 
of the entrance-door is a bronze statue of the 
Maid kneeling, with one hand raised to heaven. 
It was executed by an artist of Lorraine, and 
placed here in 1860. 



DOMREMY.—THE CHURCH. 15 

Beyond the church (we must now stand on the 
other side of the bridge) lies the main street of 
the village, with its cross road, called Rue de 
risle, or Rue du Chateau de I'lsle, fronting a 
cluster of cottages abutting on the river. A cross 
here marks the head of the former bridge, a little 
below the present stone bridge. Here, on the 
opposite bank, stood formerly a chapel and an old 
fortified manor-house, where Jeanne d'Arc used 
sometimes to lead her cattle, to save them from 
marauding men-at-arms. One buttress only marks 
the site of these structures ; the place is now 
overgrown with willows and poplars, between 
which we see the village of Maxey by the station, 
and the opposite hill-slopes beyond the meadows 
by the railway. This is all that the eye can see 
from the bridge in front of Jeanne d'Arc's home 
and church. The essence of the place is peace — 
peace and prayer. 

Bear with me while I walk round the little 
parish church of Domremy, pencil in hand, de- 
scribing each object in succession in the manner 
of a bailiff's inventory. It would be pleasanter, 
prettier writing to indulge at this opportunity 
with divergent (and easy) reflections on light and 
colour, radiance and art, and their power over 
the innocent mind of the young enthusiast. By 
plentiful words, by talk of columns and stained 
glass, of shrines, emblems, and pictures, I might 
give an idea of the humble parish church as a 
miniature cathedral. I might enlarge upon the 
power of all good and beautiful influences (which 



16 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

are of heaven) ; for, to one unaccustomed to the 
wealth of beauty, and susceptible of passions at 
once pure, soft, and elevated, their power is 
immense. 

The prosaic inventory might rise into poetry by 
added angels' wings and lustrous hues. By throwing 
back everything into the past tense, I might make 
it seem that what is homely now and common- 
place was glorious then, and conjure up an ima- 
ginary Jeanne moving in the midst of an imagin- 
ary combination of Flemish and Italian art in 
fourteenth-century glory, with heart and soul 
opened by these things to every lofty species of 
conviction. 

Or I might urge the merely philosophic aspect 
of the question, and dissect the young, untried 
heroine's enthusiasm, analyse the food it grew 
upon, and make a metaphysical study of her in- 
spiration. But to what end ? 

There is, after all, a higher poetry than full- 
sailed words in view of a simple peasant maid like 
Jeanne, who believed herself called to a great 
work outside her knowledge of life. The clearest 
outline, unadorned with flowers of rhetoric, is 
most becoming to the simple maiden, explaining 
the growth within her of a mental power of un- 
usual sort, and its outcome in action. 

The church is not now as it was then ; its very 
orientation has been altered, but parts remain, 
and the rest is of the same sort as the orimnal ; 
the few differences are obvious, and relate to 
Jeanne d'Arc's history and memory. The im- 



DOMREMY.—THE CHURCH. 17 

portance of her parish church in her history is 
the influence it had in moulding her character, 
and the love she bore to the place of worship. 
She had a hunger for prayer and for the Holy 
Sacraments. Enthusiasm such as hers must 
necessarily be fed. 

Turning to the right on entering the church, 
hollowed in the shortened shaft of a plain round 
column, we find the holy water stoup, the same 
which Jeanne d' Arc so often used ; before this hang 
the three cords attached to the bells. Jeanne 
always loved the bells, and heard her ^ Voices ' 
more clearly when they were pealing. 

Above the stand for the wax tapers is a modern 
oil painting of Jeanne d'Arc kneeling by a chair 
before her own latticed window. She wears the 
short skirt, white shift, and laced bodice of the 
country girls, a costume rather of tradition than 
of fact. The picture is interesting but artless, a 
circumstance explained when we hear that it is 
one of three given and painted by a man with 
much feeling for painting and enthusiasm for the 
subject of Jeanne d'Arc, but little or no technical 
instruction. 

The coloured windows are modern, but doubt- 
less there were stained-glass windows, and of finer 
colour, in Jeanne's time, filling her village- 
bred mind with awe of the subjects and admira- 
tion of the jewelled light. So much depends 
upon the feeling one brings to the contemplation 
of a picture, and how far removed one's mind is 
from a position of criticism. The first window 

c 



18 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

seems to represent St. Elizabeth of Hungary, 
by her lap full of roses. Then conies a window 
to St. Margaret. Probably there always have 
been coloured windows painted with St. Mar- 
garet and St. Catherine, in whose names the 
church was dedicated. These images would have 
been Jeanne's delight, her jewels, her art gallery, 
her ideals of glory and beauty, companioning her 
through life from infancy, her spiritual friends. 
It needed no more than the affectionate feelings 
of an enthusiast to name the voices of duty and 
comfort after these two beloved beings. Her 
'Voices' were a personification of her religion. 
These were the sweet names she knew; these 
saints had been holy women, the godly matrons 
whose example she was to follow. 

In the turn of the transept hangs a sixteenth 
century painting of the conversion of St. Nor- 
bert ; this picture and another, in the opposite 
transept, of the angels ministering to Jesus in 
the wilderness after his baptism and fasting, Avere 
brought from the Abbey of the Premontres at 
Mureau (Mira Vallis), which formerly received 
half of the tithes of Domremy. The ruins of this 
abbey are visible near Pargny, to the westward 
of the vale of the Saunelle. Below this painting 
stands upright the ' Pierre tombale des fils de la 
veuve Thiesselin, Marraine de Jeanne d'Arc' 

There is a windoAv to the Madonna in this 
transept. It was this that first opened my eyes 
to the wrong orientation of the church. I find 
this in my note-book : — ' I can't make it out that 



DOMREMY.—THE CHURCH. 19 

the sun shines more on and through these win- 
dows now at eleven o'clock.' Asking the reason 
of this, I found that the bulk of the original 
three-aisled romanesque church had been pulled 
down at the time the cemetery was removed in 
1823 to a neighbouring hill-slope. The church- 
yard previously lay between the church and 
Jeanne d'Arc's house. This removal caused a 
great alteration of the sacred building, whose 
situation was almost reversed in consequence. 
The three altars of the chevet, or choir, thus 
became placed at the other extremity of the 
aisles. The tower was opened so as to present 
a doorway to the road, of which four unenriched 
buttresses form all the architectural adornment. 
Its square and massive form gives the idea of the 
tower having been formerly a fortress. 

The good Abbe Bourgaut, cure of Domremy, 
slily suggests that its situation at Domremy has 
caused this supposition, as if everything in this 
country of the illustrious maiden warrior must 
needs partake of a warlike character. Many traces 
remain of the original structure of this church, 
and the restorations were carefully copied from 
the ancient model. The sites and chapels con- 
nected with the Maid of Orleans have been kept 
sacred and unaltered. 

The altar of the transept is dedicated to ' Our 
Lady of Victory.' A second painting of Jeanne 
d'Arc, with a lamb by her side, weaving garlands 
with her companions, by the same self-taught 
painter, hangs above the stand of tapers. 

c 2 



20 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

Next coines the florid altar of the Virgin, in 
gilt and painted stone in the style of Lonis XIV., 
and then the polygonal chancel of the high altar, 
placed within railings and flanked by coloured 
statues of St. Joseph and Notre Dame de Lourdes. 
The three modern-painted windows, given by 
Monsieur Dupont of Neufchateau, have Jeanne 
d'Arc for their subject. 

Numerous chaplets, banners, and other votive 
ofl'erinofs are hunff in the roofs of the chancel 
transepts and in all the vaulted arches. These were 
sent from all parts of France, and brought here 
by the Duchess de Chevreuse, in protest against 
the fete held on the 30th of May, 1877, in honour 
of Voltaire, Jeanne d' Arc's foulest traducer. Many 
other ornaments are placed here by pilgrims ; they 
all relate to Jeanne d'Arc, and are therefore ap- 
propriate. They make the little whitewashed 
building gay. 

The altar of the third aisle is dedicated to St. 
Nicolas, patron saint of Lorraine. Near this is a 
curious statue of St. Elophe in his cope, holding 
his head in his hands. The saint was martyred 
in the fourth century in this valley of the Vair. 
The remarkable sanctuary which encloses his 
tomb crowns the valley at the point where it 
joins the valley of the Meuse, nearly facing 
Domremy. 

Railed in under the western transept window is 
the plain old octagonal baptismal font. Archaeo- 
logists date this font from the twelfth century. 
In it the 'little Romee,' (for so Jeanne d'Arc 



DOMREMY.—THE CHURCH. 21 

was also surnamed, according to the old custom, 
after her mother Isabelle, or Zabillet, as they 
spelt it, Romee) was baptised by Messire Jean 
Minet, cure of Greux and Domremy. According 
to the ancient practice which subsisted till the 
council of Trent, she was presented by a crowd 
of sponsors. History has preserved the names of 
five godmothers and four godfathers, who almost 
all bore the name of Jean or Jeanne. The Maid 
in her turn held a neighbour's child, that of 
Gerardin, the Burgundian, for baptism at this 
font. 

A third picture by the amateur aforesaid hangs 
above the font. It represents Jeanne beholding 
the vision of St. Catherine and St. Margaret. 
Near this is a statue of St. Remi, patron of the 
parish ; the Avindow above depicts the bishop, St. 
Remi, in the act of baptizing three young people 
in a tub. This is rather comical. 

The confessional stands in its original position 
below the old picture, from Mureau, of Our Saviour 
with the ministering angels. The pulpit turns 
the aisle. The sun, streaming through the coloured 
window of St. Catherine, could not fail to bring 
up many thoughts concerning Jeanne and the 
heavenly light surrounding the appearance of 
^ her Voices,' her council, as she called them. 

Last of all is a double window labelled, ' St. 
Remigius hujus parochias patro,' and 'Angelus 
puerorum custos,' done by Tremotte of Neuf- 
chateau. 

The chapel of the Du Lys family, relations of 



22 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

Jeanne d'Arc, which is at the end of the south- 
ern aisle, has an altar to St. Michael and Jeanne 
d'Arc inscribed, 'Fille de Dieu, va ! va! va!' A 
black tablet near the entrance-door of the church 
marks ' Chapelle de N.D. de Domremy, oil Jeanne 
d'Arc priait.' The church is seated with old- 
fashioned benches, like those in an English coun- 
try church. The arches of the vaulting are some 
of them round, some slightly ogival. The irre- 
gularities of the building are unusually interesting 
as affording a clue to its history, and testifying to 
the veneration felt by succeeding generations of her 
fellow-parishioners for the heroine of Domremy, 
their love and their poverty, giving precious offer- 
ino^s out of their small store. 

Each year, in those middle ages, on the occasion 
of the fete of St. Remi, the cure would pronounce 
from the pulpit the panegyric of their patron 
saint, and describe with fervour the legend of the 
baptism of Clovis, with the story of the Sainte 
AmpouUe, the first anointing of a king of France, 
perhaps with all the marvellous circumstances 
added by Hincmar to the primitive narration. 
The w^ondrous tale would not be without its 
effect on the devout and impressionable child, 
who pondered all these things in her heart. 



'>>:{ 



CHAPTER 11. 



JEANNE d'aEC's COUNTKY AND HOME. 



Bonne fille ; honnete, chaste, et sainte, parlant en toute siraplicite, 
selon le precepte de I'Evangile : ' Oui, non ; cela est, cela n'est pas.' 
Sans manque. (A good girl ; virtuous, chaste, and pious, speaking 
in all simplicity, according to the precept of the Gospel : ' Yes, no ; 
it is, it is not.' Without fail.) 

Evidence of Jeanne cV Arc's neighbours. 

The country-side in these north-western Vosges 
teems with memories of Jeanne. At CefFonds, 
near Montierender, where her statue crowns a 
public fountain, the actual house of her father is 
still shown. The family seems to have taken 
its name from the villao:e of Arc-en-Barrois, 
situated on the Aujon, an affluent of the upper 
Aube, at twenty-six kilometres to the south-west 
of Chaumont. During the second half of the 
fourteenth century w^e find, in ancient records, 
many individuals of this name established along 
the valley of the Aube and its tributaries ; among 
them a canon of Troyes, the cure of Bar-sur- 
Seine, and the chaplain of the royal chapel of 
N.D. in Chaumont, and, lastly, Jacques d'Arc, 
father of Jeanne, born in 1375 at CefFonds; thus 
decisively fixing her paternal family in Cham- 



24 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

pagne. In 1398 a lady belonging to this family, 
bearing also the name of Jeanne d'Arc, held the 
manor of Sarrey, a village near Chaumont. She 
married into the noble family of Saulx. 

Jacques d'Arc figured in the first rank of the 
notables of his village, and in 1427 he was offi- 
cially employed in maintaining the rights of the 
people of Domremy against certain exactions, 
before Baudricourt, Governor of Vaucouleurs. 
At Martigny testimony was gathered favourable 
to Jeanne's rehabilitation, in 1455, after her trial 
and condemnation in 1431. At Autreville a statue 
has been erected in her honour. Her godmother, 
Jeannette Thiesselin, was from Sionne ; from 
Frebecourt, Etienne de Sionne, cure of Rou- 
ceux, another witness at the second trial, on 
which side it is needless to say, since all the 
evidence was warmly in her favour. 

Jean Hordal (a descendant of Hauvy, niece of 
the Maid of Orleans, the daughter of Pierre 
d'Arc, who married Estienne Hordal) speaks of 
going for change of air, after his illness and the 
loss of three of his children, to Domremy, and 
then to ' Rup (Ruppes), Neufchateau, La Motte 
et autres lieux oii la dicte Pucelle avait hante et 
frequent e.' Among her little pleasures and pil- 
grimages, Jeanne often visited the chapel of Notre 
Dame de Beauregard, built in the fourteenth or 
fifteenth century, which crowns the vine slopes 
above Maxey at the junction of the roads from 
Ruppes and Autreville. 

In the shade of the aged elm, which covers the 



JEANNE D'ARCS COUNTRY AND HOME. 25 

threshold of this chapel with its branches, a wide 
landscape of beauty is visible. In the valley 
from Neufchateau to Vaucouleurs one can count 
twenty villages, some nestling in the vale, some 
eyrie-perched on hills. The chateau and chapel 
of Bermont are on the opposite hill. Domremy 
lies low to the south-west. 

From Beauregard one has a fine view of the 
sunset and wide-waving hills of the Vosges before 
they break into actual mountains. The turf on 
these breezy downs is decked with Alpine flowers, 
gentians and deep-rose pinks ; harebells and many 
others rise elastic from the tread ; one's foot and 
heart are both so light up here. Fruit-trees are 
planted all about among these slopes, giving the 
country the aspect of a garden in the spring, 
though its time of glory is the autumn. One 
should make a point of seeing these vine-lands in 
October, while the vintage is yet joyous and full 
of reward for toil. 

One way back to Domremy is through Maxey 
and across the bridge over the Vair to Greux, 
a village larger and more prosperous than 
Domremy, which still, as in Jeanne d'Arc's 
time, ' makes one with Domremy. The prin- 
cipal church is at Greux.' These are Jeanne's 
words. Greux and Domremy are both exempt 
from tax : ' Neant a cause de la Pucelle.' 
The tax-collector's hand is stayed for love 
of her, long dead, whose good works follow 
her. 

Charity never faileth, but ' charitable work is 



26 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

not easy. Time, thought, rest, pleasure must be 
sacrificed to it. Deception and ingratitude must 
not discourage the giver.' Jeanne d'Arc gave to 
Domremy and to France the 'charity of ripe 
thoughts.' In those disturbed times even the 
secluded and humble village of Domremy be- 
came sometimes a theatre of war. Not only the 
childish play in which we hear of Jeanne's bro- 
thers taking part against the children of Maxey, 
who were furiously Burgundian. Her historian, 
Miss Parr, says Maxey (Marcey she calls it) was 
two leagues off. 

This trifle shows the difficulty of writing history 
from books and maps only. It is a kilometre dis- 
tant, about five furlongs. Village children cannot 
habitually meet to play at fighting from two leagues 
apart. Sometimes on the approach of a troop 
of partisans of the opposing faction there were 
skirmishes for the defence of their property and 
houses. Jeanne said she often helped to lead the 
cattle to the meadows, or to the fortified place 
called Chateau de L'Isle, 'for fear of the Burgun- 
dian foragers. After I reached years of discretion, 
I did not generally tend the cattle,' she continued. 

These attacks had nothing to do with the 
English; this was the Burgundian frontier. But at 
one time came more than a skirmish, and all the 
inhabitants of Domremy fled to Neufchateau, at 
a distance of eleven kilometres (about seven 
miles), driving their cattle before them. The 
Abbe Bourgaut, cure of Domremy, from whom 
in conversation I learnt most of the traditions 



JEANNE D' ARC'S COUNTRY AND HOME. 27 

concerning Jeanne connected with this part of 
the country, says it was when Jeanne was about 
ten years of age that she took refuge with her 
flxniily at Neufchateau. Wallon, in his book, 
— which is one of the best records of Jeanne's life 
that we possess, — puts the date in 1428, when 
Jeanne was sixteen years old. He also says it 
was after her first journey to Vaucouleurs to ask 
Baudricourt to send her to the service of the 
king. Every writer dates it differently. 

It is likewise a disputed point whether the 
family staj^ed four days or a fortnight at Neuf- 
chateau, where they took refuge with a good 
woman named La Rousse, the mistress of an inn, 
to whom Jeanne made herself very useful. A 
little maiden is often very handy at ten years old, 
but it is more likely Jeanne was sixteen, as she 
led to pasture the cattle her parents had brought 
there. It is from her stay here that the story 
arises that she was the servant at an inn. It 
seems, from her own declaration, that she Avas 
fifteen days servant at the inn at Neufchateau. 

Neufchateau is a small, neat, insignificant 
town built on a hill crowned with church 
towers, and set in a hilly, arid landscape with 
rocky valleys and sparse verdure. It is a whole- 
some town, of 3,920 inhabitants, with gardens 
on its slopes, and pleasant views from the win- 
dows, in which blue pyramidal campanulas grow 
like flowery curtains. The school-children sing 
hymns, which echo down the quiet streets ; 
men weave hempen cloth by hand, and are 



28 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

content to do it ; and long carts piled high with 
grapes let fall their luscious load into the cellars 
beneath the houses, shooting down the piles of 
grapes as easily as we drop letters into the post. 
In the hill-country hereabout the grapes are some- 
times frost-bitten ; but they seem to make a very 
fair wine all the same. There are two churches 
dating from the eleventh century : St. Christophe, 
which has been restored, and St. Nicholas, re-conse- 
crated in 1697, built above an early subterranean 
church. In the church on the top of the hill, 
where it rises abrupt and rocky from the valley, 
is a Calvary, with life-sized coloured figures, and 
two good pictures, one a Vandyke, the other a 
crucifixion of Caravaggio-like power and darkness. 
A replica of this is at Toul. None of these things, 
however, are very remarkable. The statue of 
Jeanne d'Arc is the most interesting object in the 
town. 

Doubtless the family of Arc \vere glad to return 
home. Had it not been for their cattle, they 
might as safely have stayed at Domremy, for, by 
the appearance of Jeanne d' Arc's house and the 
few other cottages of that date that remain in 
the district, they were built as strong as little 
fortresses. Their homes were really their castles, 
as doubtless they had need to be. But the church 
had been set on fire by the marauders and 
greatly injured, to Jeanne's grief and pious 
indignation. 

The house where Jeanne d'Arc was born, and 
where several members of her ennobled family of 



JEANNE D'ARCS COUNTRY AND HOME. 29 

Du Lys dwelt since her time, is, externally, a 
rough-cast cottage with a low, lean-to roof, form- 
ing a kind of half gable of broad span. The house 
is not quite straight in front, the elevation forming 
a slight, nearly imperceptible angle. 

Michel Montaigne visiting the place in 1580, in 
the course of his journey to Italy, says of it, 'The 
front of the cottage where Jeanne d'Arc was born 
is all over painted with her deeds, but time has 
greatly injured the painting.' 

No trace of this painting remains ; but there 
are several ornamental additions made by Claude 
du Lys and others, which are interesting as 
relating to Jeanne d'Arc. 

The cottao-e is set low in the s^round : it has 
probably sunk in the course of ages, as other 
heavier buildings do. This cottage has sunk one 
step (about eight inches) within five centuries : 
had it been a church or castle, it would probably 
be deeper in the ground by this time. The low 
door has three escutcheons over it, and a shrined 
niche with a statue above them. The central 
shield bears the arms of France, with the legend 
in Gothic letters, with fleur-de-lys between. 

The right-hand shield is charged with the bear- 
ings given by Charles VII. to the family of Jeanne 
d'Arc, two golden lilies in an azure field, between 
them is a sword sustaining a crown on its point. 
The shield to the left bears three ploughshares 
and a spur-rowel, the arms of Thiesselin, whose 



30 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

daughter married, in 1460, Claude du Lys, then 
proprietor of the house, grand-nephew of the 
Maid of Orleans. The top of the ogive is adorned 
with symbols of the pastoral work Jeanne follow- 
ed before she bore arms : corn and the vine, with 
the device, -|- Vive -|- laheur -|- and the date : 
f mil t iiii'' f iiii'^^ f z f (1481). 

This Gothic niche was destined to receive the 
statue of cast metal, precisely similar to an 
image in stone, which is to be seen in the first 
room in the house, and which dates from the 
time of the maid's rehabilitation in 1456, if 
we may trust the account of it by Charles du 
Lys, Advocate- General at the Cour des Aides 
under Louis XIII. Tradition says that the statue 
(the stone image) was formerly coloured and gilt, 
and that it was placed in the parish church at 
Domremy. It was said to be sculptured by an 
artist of Lorraine from a young relative of the 
heroine, who bore so striking a resemblance to 
the Maid that she was called 'the little Jeanne.' 
The figure has many points of resemblance to 
the original statue formerly on the bridge of 
Orleans. They were possibly by the same hand. 
Instead of the ' cheveux rondiz ' that the heroine 
wore, she is represented with her hair flowing 
over her shoulders and below the waist. The 
hands are joined in prayer. The face, seen in 
profile, has a certain calm beauty of expression, 
but, though pleasing, we are not to take it as 
an actual likeness of Jeanne d'Arc. 

The lower windows of the house are small, as 



JEANNE D'ARdS COUNTRY AND HOME, 31 

was the necessary custom of those days, when 
war and rapine were the habit of the times. 
Interiors were then more gloomy, exteriors more 
forbidding. We have flowers and muslin now, 
instead of prison-like bars ; life is gentler. The 
mullioned ' croisee ' window above the kitchen 
belongs to the large garret, occupied as a bed- 
room by Claude du Lys, cure of Greux-Dom- 
remy in the first half of the sixteenth century. 
The dwelling-house consists, besides, of four rooms 
upon the ground-floor. One enters at once from 
the outer door upon the kitchen, the living-room 
of the family, and also, according to the general 
present custom in France in this rank of life, 
the bed-room of the parents of the family, the 
bed being curtained within an alcove. 

Here Jeanne was born, and here she was 
brought up by her pious mother in habits of 
obedience, work, and prayer. Jeanne did not 
break her family ties in wilfulness ; it was against 
her own will that she left her father and mother, 
but she bent her will submissive to a higher 
call, and made of these pure earthly afl'ections 
a precious sacrifice. She loved more, not less, 
than others ; but, her heart being greater, she 
was able to love the Lord better also. 

The kitchen was warmed by the hearth, where 
Jeanne is said often to have slept on the floor 
when she had given up her own room to passing 
strangers or poor pilgrims ; for in this house 
dwelt much of ^ the charity that is in poor men's 
homes.' 



32 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UABC. 

The iron plaque in the fireplace bears the cross 
of Lorraine, ' fleur cle lysee.' This is later than 
Jeanne's time, but they say the wooden bracket 
(poutre), to hang a lamp by the fireplace, is the 
same that was used by Jeanne and her family. 
The main beam of the kitchen roof still remains, 
notwithstanding the depredating knives of pil- 
grims, and there are the same two recesses for 
kitchen utensils. The statues and museum fur- 
niture of the room are interesting, and furnish 
and enliven the room, though they would perhaps 
suit the museum better. A reduced copy in 
bronze of the statue of Jeanne by the Princess 
Marie of Orleans was given to the cottage in 
1843 by King Louis Philippe, her father. The 
princess superintended the making of this copy. 

Jeanne's own inner room at the back of the 
house, now more than half underground, strikes 
chill and damp, though the baking-oven just 
outside the house warmed it periodically. The 
now paved floor was earthen in her time. Here are 
the self-same beams and the wardrobe-cupboard 
that she used, and the two small beams or sticks 
nailed in the roof-beam where she hung her 
clothes, her simple wardrobe. The tiny window 
is further shaded by the honeysuckle twining 
round the trees that now darken it, and the 
broad aristolochia leaves that embower this side 
of the garden. But what ecstatic light entered 
by this small aperture and filled Jeanne's soul? 
Little light can pierce this dense greenery now. 
Only the eastern sun of midsummer morning is 



JEANNE D'ARC'S COUNTRY AND HOME. 33 

fociissed into aflame through the narrow opening. 

Probably there was only a curtain between her 
room and the kitchen where her parents slej)t. 
The door is walled up leading to her brother's 
room, which is much more cheerful and better- 
lighted than Jeanne's ; boys being made more of 
in France than girls. There Avere, however, three 
sons in the family, and only two girls, even if it 
is certain that Jeanne had the young sister who 
is mentioned as Catherine by some chroniclers. The 
fuchsias of the nuns who take care of the cottage 
are housed in the brothers' room now when cold 
weather sets in. Their roses, vines, and cabbages 
all grow together outside in well-cultivated mixed 
borders as pleasant as the more strict front gar- 
den, surrounded by spruce fir-trees, a garden of 
asters and carnations, rock anemones and pansies, 
and a fine scarlet pyracanthus, what country folks 
call candleberry myrtle, and the French call 
'burning bush,' which seems to have set on fire 
the Virginia creeper trailing up among the sculp- 
tured escutcheons of the front. The garden is 
watered by a branch of the Trois Fontaines, whose 
clear brook runs under a wooden bridge behind 
the house. 

The venerable cottage is set back from the road 
between two houses, one of which contains in its 
salle de reception a museum of objects of interest 
relating to the heroine ; the other is the village 
school, salle des filles, where three sisters of the 
' congregation enseignante de la Providence ' (de 
Portieux) direct the primary school. They also 

D 



34 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

visit the sick of the village, and act as friendly 
guides to pilgrims who come to visit the illustri- 
ous cottage under their care. Of the three kind, 
good sisters here, the suiyerieiire teaches the chil- 
dren and shows the museum, which has a book- 
case full of literature relating to Jeanne d'Arc 
(Southey's poem is the only English book) ; the 
infmeure chops wood ; while the juste milieu cleans 
the carrots for the soup. They sing the service 
sweetly in the church, leading their little choir ; 
they do their marketing, and also make the place 
pleasant to strangers with their kindly talk. The 
saperieuve gave us leave to sit in the garden in 
front of the house, where we sketched the portal, 
with its escutcheons, whose lost blazonry is out- 
rivalled by the exquisite hues of the Virginia 
creeper that trails among its sculptures. Here, 
before the railins^s which connect the buildino^s 
and protect the cottage, is the precise spot, so 
says X\\Q cure, Abbe Bourgaut, where Jeanne saw 
her first vision. 

The church is close by — so near, that while on 
her knees, astonished and all trembling with awe 
and piety, she could hear the girls' voices singing 
in the village church. The nuns, however, describe 
the place where Jeanne saw her first vision, and 
others, as having been in the side garden in front 
of her own window. They picked me some pansies 
in remembrance of the spot. I incline to their view 
myself. I hardly think she would have knelt so con- 
spicuously in front of the house, or the circumstance 
would have been more observed. Still, arrange- 



JEANNE D' ARC'S COUNTRY AND HOME. 35 

ments and o^rowth of shrubs and other thino:s 
may have been different. The tradition may have 
been handed down from her own account of it to 
her family. 

For all its present seclusion, historians are 
wrong in supposing Domremy to have been in 
Jeanne d' Arc's time as isolated and retired as it 
has been in later years. The Roman road from 
Langres to Verdun, a high-road much traversed 
in the middle ages, passed directly through the 
village, and this was one of the most important 
routes between the great Burgundian dominions, 
whose heavy wine-carts moved by it from Bur- 
gundy to Flanders. By the same road arrived in 
Burgundy the cloths of Ghent and Ypres, besides 
the travellers and personages of importance who 
journeyed to and fro, and all this traffic passed 
immediately in front of the cottage of Jeanne 
d'Arc. 

The railing defends the garden from the school- 
children, who remind one of the young Burgun- 
dians of Maxey in Jeanne's time. How the little 
Philistines rushed out of school, and daily fell 
upon us to see all there was to see — books and 
paint-boxes ! How they were interested in the 
stranger ladies, and how they loved their Jeanne 
and their home, and, in their simple-hearted, 
child-like way, their church and their God ! 
They turned away to admire a gay three-horsed 
wagonette full of eight highly fashionable pil- 
grims, whose wide-open minds were soon satisfied 
on all points connected with Jeanne d'Arc : they 

D 2 



36 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

had read the latest histories, and knew everything 
already. 

It was bliss to sit in the calm shade and scent 
of balsam iir-trees, surrounded by rock anemones 
and red roses, not full, but very sweet. The 
purling brook beside us, the hallowed house in 
front, above us the song of birds whistling good- 
night, while a waggoner cracked his whip in air 
as he drove his team of two horses and a bullock 
home. Women were going home with full hottes 
of grapes at their backs, carts passed piled high with 
root crops, and wine-carts with their great tubs of 
purple heaps ; the cattle and the green hay, all 
were going home. We are accommodated with 
chairs and footstools by the sister, who is now^ 
gone out with her provision-basket on an errand 
of charity or necessity, perhaps both. The sujje- 
rieure^ after neatly preparing the vegetables, which 
Avere brought to her clean-w^ashed, is reading and 
resting in her porch. Hoav calmly she sits and 
waits Avhile we work in the WTcaths and tendrils 
among the sculpture ! Hollyhocks, carnations 
supported by a light hoop between two canes, 
periwinkles, and trails of crisp fading aristolochia, 
with harebells in the grass, till up the details, each 
adding a pleasure. The little church on the right 
hand walls us in with a sense of holy calm, shedding 
its mute welcome on us strangers and pilgrims. 

This is enjoyment, sure, to anyone. Ah, what is 
it to a train and cab and telegraph-ridden Lon- 
doner ? Few English pilgrims come here, how- 
ever ; the accommodation is poor. They say about 



JEANNE D'ARCS COUNTRY AND HOME. 37 

ten English a year may come, which includes 
Americans, but they do not stop. Out of hun- 
dreds of pilgrims — I may say thousands, accord- 
ing to the visitors' book — I saw only one British 
name, a Scotch one, besides our own. 

The Angelus is sounding, our landlady is pluck- 
ing a duckling for our supper ; there is time for an 
evening walk up the hill, a tough climb through a 
sweet wilderness of shrubbery to the gentian-stud- 
ded downs on a yet unvisited hill to see the sunset. 
Everything grows so naturally and picturesquely 
hereabout. If people see a lovely wild rose-bush 
trail, all over scarlet hips, they leave it alone in its 
glory to refresh the next comer. Up through a 
yellowing hazy glade of silver birch, the woods be- 
hind their stems aflame with autumn, and the 
setting sun reflected on moist leaves, the early 
hunter's moon above. 

A man, a carter, saluted us in German. He 
was glad when we answered him in the same 
language : he loved to pour forth in his native 
tongue. We soon knew all that man's history, 
the tale of his journey to America and his return. 

They are an innocent and primitive people 
here, who have not heard much of England. Un- 
like Jeanne in that, they do not hate us, nor think 
ill of us : though Hordal, Jeanne's relative, re- 
lates, ' Et si en bonne compagnie j'ay ouy objecter 
aux Anglois, que Judas, le prototipe des traistres, 
estoit Anglois.' * 

They take every stranger to be Alsacian, and 

* 'And thus in good society I have heard it objected to the English, 
that Judas, the prototype of traitors, was an Englishman.' 



38 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

they mostly accost them in German : not the people 
of Domremy village, they are entirely French, but 
the peasants on the roads and in the fields away 
to the eastward. 

Life here takes us back a hundred years; and why 
not two, or three, or four? Yes, it is just about 

that time. ^ Or more,' cries F , who spies three 

truncated pillars or ' druidical monuments.' We 
make for them. Lo ! They are sacks of potatoes 
filled and standing upright against the red sky. 
How many discoveries are mistakes : how many 
are merely acknowledgments of our (previous) 
ignorance. 

Humbled by our archaeological error, we work 
our way thoughtfully through the copse, among 
the purpling foliage laced with blackthorn 
stalks, hoary with grey lichen, and down to the 
village, where the people are playing pleasantly 
with their children by their supper fires, the 
younger men and girls standing on the doorsteps, 
chatting, or moving ofi* in pairs towards the 
bridge. 

If I have been lengthy in describing the church 
and Jeanne's home, it is because these had such 
a significant bearing on her after career. One must 
take into account the home influences, the earliest, 
the strongest, and always especially strong with 
the French people. What is so soothing as that 
mild monotony of daily life ; that sweet half- tint 
on which our history is painted? ' What novelty 
is worth that sweet monotony where everything 
is known, and loved because it is known ?' 



JEANNE UARCS COUNTRY AND HOME. 30 

We learn to love Jeanne more, to understand 
her better, and the age which reared her, when 
we see her early life, in the common and every- 
day aspects which make up the sum of life : we 
are familiarised with the minutia3 of her people's 
ways, their belongings, their habits, wants, and 
wishes, as we tread her floors, and stand within 
the very walls of her home, by her fireside, or 
look forth from her windows. We think of her 
in her happy, peaceful life, her Miealthy human 
passion, without the morbid craving for the ex- 
ceptional,' which makes young dressmakers and 
factory girls, and those whose lives are a sordid 
tunelessness, or, at best, a tune played only on 
one string, devour romance and live mentally in 
the midst of false creations without due prepara- 
tion for the higher life, which is to come to us all 
some day. Because she lived excellently, working 
at well-doing, therefore the exceptional came to 
her, who was framed and bred strong enough to 
carry out exceptional work without fainting 
under it. 



40 



CHAPTER III. 

JOUENEY TO VAUCOULEUES. 

' Et qui est ton seigneur?' dit le sire de Nouillonpont. ' Le roi du 
ciel.' (' And who is thy lord ?' said the master of Nouillonpont. ' The 
king of heaven.') 

We two pilgrims left Donireiny at ten a.m. on 
October 12th, having a walk before us of twenty 
kilometres to Vaucouleurs (twelve miles and a 
half), with the train at hand to help us, if we 
pleased. The friendly villagers assembled in the 
road to say adieu. We had been there some days, 
and they knew we admired and loved their 
Jeanne. They forgot that the English destroyed 
her. Outside the village of Greux, the larger 
sister parish of Domremy, a hill-path to the left 
gave promise of a pleasanter walk to Vaucouleurs 
than the route nationale^ besides passing directly 
by Bermont, formerly called Bellamont from its 
beautiful landscape, and Burey-la-C6te, scenes of 
much interest in the life of Jeanne d'Arc. Could 
anything be pleasanter than a forenoon walk 
through vineyards painted by October, with a 
few purple branches left hanging for the gleaner 
a trifle frost-bitten, perhaps, but SAveet and good. 



JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEURS, 41 

The delicious woods were enjoyed with the keen 
feeling of its being perhaps the last of the summer 
days, the one to be made the most of; the flowery 
fields were still dewy, and the air full of floating 
gossamer cobwebs : an atmosphere of fairy silver. 

We took Jeanne's own direct path, by way of 
the old road to Verdun, which gives a lovely view 
over dear little Domremy nestling in its valley, 
with the copper-tipped hills bathed in the blueish 
film of morning mist fast vanishing in the sun- 
shine, the sky full of white clouds, a Turner sky 
and most Turneresque landscape, with its poplars 
and boundless waves of distance. We have often 
cried out, ' How like the " Rivers of France " this 
place is !' 

Even we felt a ' serrement du coeur ' in leaving 
this peaceful nook, as if there were a hard world to 
be faced outside. Jeanne's heart must have ached, 
and needed all its high resolve when she gazed 
from these hills for this last time, when she had 
left her home never more to see that beloved 
little world. 

We looked back fondly many times while 
skirting the potato-fields and colza crops, before 
descending into a beautiful woodland, all hill 
and dell, with glades embowering blue distances 
and mossy paths, and soft, still, dreamy foliage- 
screens of silver birch and yellow beech, with 
here and there a maple sapling glowing like the 
rosy cheek of a country child. 

One is not Ions; in discerning}; Jeanne's favour- 
ite chapel of Our Lady of Bermont, where she 



42 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

went almost every Saturday to pray, and enjoy 
herself with her young playmates, wreathin^^ the 
altar with flowers which she was skilled in weav- 
ing. The young girls laughed at her devotion, 
even little Mengette, her own especial friend, 
made her blush by calling her ' too pious.' 

Happy days these when the young girls could 
play in the woods together, drink at St. Thie- 
bault's fountain, and together pray and give 
thanks for another week of gladsome life ; then 
light their tapers in the chapel, emblems of the 
faith that lights the world and the love of warm 
hearts to God. 

The statue of the Virgin in the chapel was the 
same that exists there at this day. A crowned 
figure less than life-size, carved in oak and paint- 
ed, bearing a sceptre in the right hand, and in 
the other the infant Jesus, who holds a bird. 
There are four statues altogether in the chapel, 
surrounding an altar of stone and painted wood. 
Many of the objects here are of high antiquity; 
the wooden cross on the top of the arch above 
the image of St. Thiebaut is supposed to date 
from the twelfth century, and the cross at the 
gable of the chevet of the chapel is thought to 
be of the eleventh century. The Gothic inscrip- 
tion round the bell has never been deciphered. 
It runs thus, in thirteenth century characters : 

"^jjC^ a fa i^ m r i^ i II ir i^ a It r m a n g t 
which ingenious readers have tortured into a 
motto of praise to Jeanne d'Arc, which would be a 



JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEURS. 48 

wonderful prophecy, considering it was inscribed 
two centuries before she was born. 

Philip of Bergamo, who wrote in the reign of 
Charles VII., tells us that when Jeanne w^as 
about sixteen she took refuge in a chapel from 
a storm, and there saw the vision which first 
decidedly warned her of her mission, to which 
she replied that she was but a poor girl, incapable 
of leading an army. This chapel has been thought 
to be Bermont. Though it is more likely that 
the chapel where Jeanne took shelter was the one 
on the hill of the Bois Chesnu, rebuilt by Etienne 
Hordal and again destroyed by the Swedes when 
they invaded Lorraine, on whose site the new 
white temple has been built ; yet it was at Ber- 
mont that Jeanne was filled with irresistible 
impulse to go forth to save her country and crown 
her king, so that she said afterwards, ' Since God 
commanded it, if I had had a hundred fathers 
and mothers, and been a king's daughter, had I 
been forced to wear away my feet to the knees, 
I must have gone.' She had no support from 
home for her resolution ; public opinion, that of 
her little village, was all against the idea of her 
mission. 

Yet at Bermont, with the memory of her child- 
hood's happiness rushing over her in one great 
wave, when at one moment her whole life was 
reflected in it before her as she uttered her last 
prayer at the well-known altar, Jeanne must have 
needed all the supernatural strength given with 



U FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

the command, ' Fille De, va, va, va, I will be 
thine aid, go forth,' to carry her steps from her 
native village. This parting was twice repeated. 
She was very brave and strong in her faith to go 
forward again after her first repulse by Baudri- 
court at Vaucouleurs. She went on, strong in a 
heaven-sent strength, feeling an energy of life 
transcending grief and joy. 

One need not go to America to see the autumn 
woods when such rapturous colour lies between us 
and Switzerland. The hill is quite a cathedral of 
splendour, fragrant with the incense of ripe 
autumn, gorgeous with its lines of scarlet, flame 
and purple, and flowered with pink skewerwood, 
mingled with rays of light and flashes and splashes 
of pure pale yellow flowerlike colour. The year 
is renewed into a second youth of colour, an 
afterglow more glorious than her early bloom. 

We walk ^ through verdurous glooms and 
winding mossy ways,' through ivied fore- 
grounds, each miniature frond crying, ' Look at 
me more closely ;' the emerald banks dappled 
with purple-veined ivy and strawberry-plants, 
telling of children's spring joys, and yellowing 
beech and crimson dogwood. Nature's own land- 
scape painting, still moist with morning's mist, 
its colour heightened as is wetted jasper ; one 
particularly lovely maple-tree with silver stem, 
is quite a rose among many other delicate maples. 
Each sweet dumb friend is another pang for Jeanne, 
whose afl*ections had so twined round these things ; 
and beyond this lay the sad thought that she was 



JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEURS. 45 

bringing sorrow into the lives of others — hardest 
of all sacrifices for the loving, nnselfish heart. 

Our way still lay through fields where our 
' feet were soft in flowers,' then came a rough- 
hewn road. A path through somebody's back 
o:arden led us throuo:h the villaG^e of Goussain- 
court and on to the high-seated village of Burey- 
la-C6te at two short leagues from Domremy, 
where lived Jeanne's maternal uncle Durand 
Laxart, who even last year had cheered her heart 
Avith belief in her mission when none else believed, 
and he took her to Vaucouleurs to see the 



2:overnor. 



Durand Laxart's house still exists. It looks 
very ancient, and has only a ground floor, sparing- 
ly ornamented in the pointed style of the fifteenth 
century, with an ogival portal and a trefoiled 
heading to the small window. Two large round- 
ed archways allow the passage of carts to the back 
of the house. A little square-towered church, 
Avith its low, dark-grey steeple, points this village 
of Burey, which is visible on its hill-top for many 
miles. 

Near where the path through the fields abuts 
on the high road, we spread our cloaks and re- 
clined under a broad-branching plum-tree on a 
slope, enjoying the peace and beauty of the scene 
until we felt ready to take up our walk again. 
We could trace the winding road to Vaucouleurs 
for about four miles on, by its double line of trees 
as their shadows faded ofi" in the distance curving 
down the broad hill slope. The hills and valleys 



46 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

are not so smiling as in the little nest of Domremy, 
which seems the choicest vale in all this countr}^ 
The railroad is hidden by a long tunnel, and 
several tributaries to the Meuse flow in here. The 
plain seen in a peep between the two hills behind 
Burey-la-C6te looks like the sea in its far-off blue- 
ness. Nearer at hand are flocks of sheep, pigs, 
and goats, all herding together like happy families. 

To the right in the valley proceeding north- 
ward is Maxev-sur-Vaise, where the heroine went 
several times to communicate to ' noble homme 
Geoffroy du Fay ' her design of fighting the Eng- 
lish. We passed through Maxey, a superior sort 
of village, with the Vaise flowing through it 
neatly embanked with stone. Sauvigny, the next 
station, is less important. We rested again near 
the sixth kilometre-stone out of Vaucouleurs, on 
a bank beneath a wayside chapel near the railway 
line. 

The bank, sunny when we spread our cloaks 
upon it, was repose itself, with its canopy of soft- 
clouded sky, its prospect of violet hill-slopes, 
sunny meadows set with willows and tall poplars, 
and a near foreground of poppies, hare-bells, 
shepherd's purse, some pretty umbelliferse and 
braided grasses. We lay in clover here, lapped 
in a sense of fine existence, and scorning wealth 
and capital cities : only feeling, as the train 
passed, leaving us behind, like Diogenes when he 
told Alexander to stand out of his light. It came 
between us and the willows. We wanted nothing 
of the train, but that it should not cast its smoke 



JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEURS. 47 

upon US ; such very dirty smoke it is here in this 
eastern part of the network of the Chemin de Fer 
de I'Est, almost as bad as it is across the German 
frontier, where it seems the thickest and most 
poisonous of all coal-smoke. Otherwise the air 
here is perfect in its sweetness, coolness, and 
peace. Yet in this paradise of peace and ease, we 
looked back mentally to our little Domremy, with 
its moonlit river, as the sweetest spot of all. 

We ate our chocolate, and looked down placid- 
ly on the slowly moving world, and into the 
wine-carts as they passed full to the brim of 
grapes. We had left the department of the Vosges, 
and, going northward, were now well within that 
of the Meuse. Many people carry guns about here, 
and there are plenty of sporting dogs. 

A pleasant walk through park-like scenery 
brought us into Vaucouleurs by way of the Place 
Petry ; at the south-eastern corner of which the 
inhabitants of Vaucouleurs still point out the 
house of Henri le Royer, the wheelwright, who 
was Jeanne d' Arc's host during her stay in the 
town. The small house is unassuming, but not 
remarkable for any great appearance of antiquity. 

Dining at Vaucouleurs that evening in the 
neat, unsophisticated Hotel de Jeanne dArc, off 
omelette, cabbage, and the wine of the country, a 
shaggy, unkempt-looking personage in guise of 
an unsuccessful artist introduced himself by help- 
ing himself uninvited from our dish : his manner 
of solving the difficulties of natural selection 
where there is but one dish to choose from. He 



48 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

at once proceeded to draw us out. We had seen 
him previously in the town Avith something like a 
large sketch-book under his arm. His costume 
and sans gene manners made us conclude he was a 
devotee of the Beautiful ; but, no, he only sought 
the True. He was a scientific man, w^hose mission 
was to seek truth — truth only ; and by trade — if 
I dare so to speak — he was a professional lecturer. 

Besides being a philosopher and geographer, 
he was here holding a conference on hygiene at 
the Hotel de Ville this night at eight. ' The en- 
trance is gratuitous, and would you credit it, 
mesdames, Vaucouleurs has two thousand six 
hundred and ninety-five inhabitants ' (which w^e 
afterwards found out to consist chiefly of babies), 
' well, I shall feel myself fortunate if I have 
twenty listeners. The French are not like the 
English ; you English ' (a shaggy, sweeping bow) 
' seek knowledge, but here even the vitally im- 
portant subject of hygiene is disregarded ; and 
yet it concerns us all.' He sighed, as he helped 
himself to cabbage. Friday in a small French town 
is a circumstance to sigh over. 

Doubtless this neglect of the higher culture, 
etc., is one reason why Murray in his edition of 
1864 does not mention Vaucouleurs at all, and in 
the latest edition it is only named. 

'Are you of the province of Birmingehamme, 
mesdames?' 

'No, we are from London.' 

'Ah!' another shaggy bow recognises the 
superior style and breadth of the metropolitan 



JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEURS. 49 

mind — ' ah ! I have visited the most beautiful 
quarters of England. I took a tourist ticket to 
London ; my fortune, unhappily, permitted me 
not to do more. I am historian also. I was 
writing the life of Cromvelle at the time, and I 
went to seek informations.' 

' Indeed ; and what did you see ?' 

' Oh, I visited the finest quarters ; I saw the 
Faubourg de Berremingue'amme, and Veet'alle ' 
(Whitehall), ^and Irving in "Charles I.," because 
I was making researches for my book on Crom- 
velle. I speak not English, but I read him.' 

He finished our omelette. The talk naturally 
turned on Jeanne d'Arc. Doubtless we had heard 
of her. Yes, we were following her footsteps. 

' I am at this moment writing a history of her 
life,' he continued. ' I have already covered 
eighteen and three-quarter kilogrammes of paper 
with materials I have already collected. It is 
to be in eleven volumes as high as this bottle,' 
— he helped himself. ' You are also making 
studies of her, doubtless, madame. Every ele- 
vated soul must,' — etc. 

'Mine will not be such a monumental work as 
yours. We have just walked from her birthplace, 
Domremy, to-day.' 

' Fifty kilometres ! You English are wonderful 
people.' 

' No, it is not so much as that ; it is only twenty.' 

' Pardon, it is fifty ; I know it for certain.' 

The mistress of the hotel smiled. She knew 
her man, we did not. 

E 



50 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

' And what did they show you ?' 

' Oh, everything.' 

'But what? Did you see the house she was 
born in ?' 

' Certainly.' 

' And the place where she tied up her cows ?' 

' No, we did not see that.' 

' Then they shoAved you simply nothing. Who 
did you speak to about her ?' 

'The cure talked to us and lent us some books.' 

' The cure he knows nothinof. Bah ! those 
cures,' — he shook his hair into wisps — 'they admit 
no ideas ; they are made up of antiquated pre- 
judices. And their books, they are only legends, 
stories written for children. We seek truth, we 
others,' — drawing himself up and flinging aside 
the wisps, — ' I have reached the profoundest 
depths of Jeanne's history. I have read through 
the Mercury from the fifteenth century, when it 
began, and there is only one complete copy now 
extant, and that is in Paris. Ah, nobody knows 
her veridical history. There are volumes to be 
told.' 

' And yet it is such a little life.' 

' A short life. It is true she died at nineteen 
years eight months and eight days and a half 
How accurate he was ! ' Yet there is a huge 
volume to be written of her life after she was 
burnt ' — a look of surprise on our part, — ' yes, 
after her executioner saw her and asked her 
pardon.' 

' Before her execution ' 



JOURNEY TO \AUCOULEURS. 61 

' Pardon, madame, he asked it after her exe- 
cution. He saw her. Was it a phantom he 
saw ? Science forbids. Can two persons exactly 
resemble each other ? It is not likely ; so it 
must have been an effigy of Jeanne they burnt, 
while she escaped through a subterraneous pas- 
sage. Yes, I have materials for more than eleven 
volumes, from the time when her father beat her 
for going to church instead of feeding the cows 
until her escape from the flames — et apres — ah, 
vous verrez.' 

Ah, he has so much to tell ; he has exhausted 
Paris, but in Beloium there are countless un- 
edited MSS., and he has not broken Belgian 
ground yet ; but, so far as his studies have yet 
gone, he is convinced of La Rigaude having been 
really Jeanne, and that she lived to a good old 
age. About the subterranean passage — c'est posi- 
tif — and that exonerates the English. Then it 
transpired that we had been to the Avrong Dom- 
remy altogether ; that Jeanne was born at a 
Domremy at fifty kilometres from here, ' la has 
dans les Vosges.' 

' But our Domremy was in the Vosges.' 

' Ah, it is not the right one, and that is what 
the archbishop (?) found against her, that, being 
Lorrainaise, she fought against her sovereign, the 
King of England.' 

I could not reconcile this with my previous 
reading, but I did not argue the point. This 
monsieur has, according to the habit of his 
rationalistic kind, denied all history and tradi- 

E 2 



52 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC, 

tion, and is now proceeding to evolve a Joan of 
Arc out of his moral consciousness. He has 
found that all the Avorld believes in the wrong 
Domremy ; he believes in one of the others for 
reasons he has not yet edited. Disputing every- 
thing hitherto written, he has founded a Chinon 
thirty leagues from here ; not quite Chateau 
Chinon — Schiller is wTong there : being a Ger- 
man, he must be wrong — altogether, he has drawn 
everything from sources the most inedited and 
profound ; perhaps as profound as his researches 
on Cromwell, as indubitable as Irving's acting 
edition of Charles I.'s life. In this way there is 
no end to the volumes one might write on the 
subject of one short life. It was a mercy Ave had 
found the real Vaucouleurs. He finished the last 
handful of our cakes. Looking at his Avatch, 

' Ah, I must hasten myself — I have a confer- 
ence at the ToAvn Hall to-night. Did I mention 
it? I hope I shall have a greater success here 

than I had at , when I conducted Madame la 

Generale —to my lecture, and I awaited a tremen- 
dous fiasco.' 

' Oh, I feel sure a lecture on so important a 
subject Avill be Avell attended,' said I, soothingly. 

' I hope I may have the pleasure of your assist- 
ance at my conference.' 

I expected this. We had just Avalked about 
thirteen miles, besides making some researches in 
the toAvn ; still a lecture on hygiene might do us 
good. He will accompany us — it is not far — and 
give us reserved seats, and by frequent reference 



JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEUnS. 63 

to his watch we are given to understand there is 
no time to be lost. He loves the English. Was 
that young lady who had just gone to bring down 
my bonnet my daughter ? Ah ! une charmante 
demoiselle ! Was madame a widow ? He has the 
highest consideration for the English, and they 
return it fully. 

' Indeed !' 

Ah, yes. He met a lord of the Admiralty at 
Plombieres w^ho had £80,000 a year, who must 
have had £80,000 sterling a year, because he not 
only gave largely at one of his lectures, but he 
always drives four horses. Each horse costs 
twenty francs a day, so that the lord in question 
cannot on that basis of calculation have less than 
£80,000 a year, c'est positif. 

' What is his name ?' 

He knows the name begins with a B and ends 
with an m ; but, although he has his card among 
the three kilogrammes of visiting-cards that he 
has in his portmanteau, and all given to him in 
this tournee, he cannot recall the name for the 
moment, though he was so intimate. Thirteen 
hundred and four cards weigh a kilogramme, so 
he says. He is careful about accuracy in detail 
— the scientific mind is always so. 

If he asks for my card to add to his collection, 
I must call myself Mrs. Smith of Great Britain, 
address, No. 6, Clapham Junction. 

He was careful not to lose sight of his audi- 
ence. We declined seats on the platform at the 
lecture, but he announced us about as distin- 



bi FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

guished foreigners, so that we were glad to get 
away as soon as the conference was over. Vau- 
couleurs does not seem to be of a scientific turn 
of mind, nor to care about hygiene ; but the two 
first rows of seats gradually filled, and small boys 
crowded in at the back later on. State-paid lec- 
tures on hygiene are naturally less lively than 
those where the lecturers try to clear a profit, but 
his diagrams were very neat and good, and the 
audience woke up a little when the lecturer pro- 
duced a large ecorche picture, with opening leaves, 
displaying the organs of the body not usually 
exhibited. Like all men, he was most eloquent 
on the tight-lacing question, and weakest on the 
subject of tobacco. His lecture was dull, but 
moderately good. 

We took care to be invisible next morning, and 
each time we caught sight of our philosopher 
lurking in corners in wait for us, we slipped out 
of a side-door and fled. He would be sure to 
mislead us in our search for traces of Jeanne 
d'Arc. 

All this reads ludicrously, but philosophers 
of this sort are connnon enough. These artists 
think they can improve upon Nature, flatter the 
features of a character, arrange history better, 
and cover their want of anatomy by ' treatment.' 
This sketch is literal fact, shortened considerably, 
for our historian was very glib ; and to what does 
it bring us ? To more light ? — oh, no ; to an 
endless complexity of cobwebs. Is unbelief more 
profitable than faith ? To me nothing is more 



JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEURS. 65 

marked than the utter barrenness of unbelief, 
which yet always accompanies the grossest credu- 
lity. They are not the most religious people who 
are gulled by tricks of spirit-rapping. Is mate- 
rialism, realism, or what they like to call it, the 
safe guide to history? or does it make of it an 
inverted legend shorn of its beams and beauties, 
yet no nearer to the truth ? 

All the tinsel with which poetry has overlaid 
the story of Jeanne d'Arc reeks Avitli verdigris 
when we approach the pure gold of truth, which 
is so clearly evidenced in buildings, distances, 
and geographical features, as well as in contem- 
porary writings and law reports. Historical re- 
search is a veritable gold-washing of tradition. 

Unbelief at Vaucouleurs is not confined to 
modern times. The Sire de Baudri court, com- 
mandant of the castle, also could not believe in 
any wonder that lay outside his narrow compre- 
hension. Some minds can only believe in their 
own experience. This is eminently provincial, 
yet not pastoral. 

We need not attend to the legend of Jeanne's 
having recognised the commandant without hav- 
ing seen him before. This is said of her approach 
to every great man, and as all writers, including 
Shakespeare, affirm it, we may conclude that 
some one person, most probably Charles VII., 
attempted to deceive her by some juggling trick. 

The truth and Jeanne's own good sense rejected 
all such extraneous miracle. Her power lay in 
her own conviction, and the natural ascendancy 

7 *J 



56 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'AB.C. 

of a strong character over those more feeble and 
vacillating ; and also the extraordinary fascination 
she exercised over all men and women with 
whom she came in contact. Superstition was a 
universal malady in those days, as unbelief is now. 
Baudricourt did not believe in Jeanne's mission ; 
yet he was superstitious enough to have the young 
girl exorcised. It was not the first time he had 
seen Jeanne d'Arc. She had come at Ascension- 
tide in the previous year, in her coarse, red, 
peasant's dress, and he had sent her away in deri- 
sion. But when she re-appeared before him, still 
in her peasant's garb, but with deeper conviction 
in her manner, and urged her mission to raise the 
siege of Orleans, and cause the dauphin to be 
crowned at Rheims : and when others round him 
began to talk of her, and to believe in her, this 
time he was not able to send her away unnoticed. 
There was something in all this, but whether of 
good or evil, who should say ? If she had visions, 
whence came they ? To clear up this point, 
Baudricourt came one day with the cure to the 
house of the wheelwright, where Jeanne was stay- 
ing, and where she remained three weeks, helping 
his wife, spinning with her; dividing her time 
between household occupations and prayer in the 
church, or in the crypt, where she often prayed 
in the chapel of the Virgin. The cure, wearing 
his stole, prepared himself to exorcise the maiden, 
commanding her, if she were under the influence 
of an evil spell, to retire; if not, she was to ap- 
proach. Jeanne approached the priest and knelt 



JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEURS. 67 

before him, and afterwards she told the command- 
ant, who Avas still unsatisfied, of the popular pro- 
phecy that ' France should be lost by a woman 
and saved by a young girl.' This young girl was 
expected to spring from the marches of Lorraine. 
The woman was interpreted to be the wicked 
Isabeau de Baviere, the queen-dowager. 

Time passed, the king's need was extreme, the 
people round Vaucouleurs Avere eager that Jeanne 
should go forward to save France according to her 
promise. Two gentlemen who offered to conduct her 
to the dauphin, also undertook to defray the ex- 
penses of the journey. One of them was Jean de 
Novelonpont, or Nouillonpont (on the frontier 
names are curiously confused in their spelling), 
surnamed Jean de Metz, a man of mature years, 
who held a royal office at Vaucouleurs. (Martin 
wrongly calls him ' un jeune bourgeois.') The 
other was a young esquire, Bertrand de Poulengy. 

The people of Vaucouleurs equipped her with 
what she required, the military dress of the 
period, and they aided her uncle to buy her a 
horse. An old tapestry wrought in her time, and 
now in the museum at Orleans, represents Jeanne 
riding to Chinon on a sorrel-coloured horse, and 
wearing a red hood with an aigrette. Only Mon- 
strelet says she was used to horse-riding. A mar- 
ginal note to his work made by a commentator in 
Charles VII.'s or Louis XL's time, rectifies the asser- 
tion saying, ' ne James n'avoit veu cheval, au moyns 
pour monter dessus.' This would be the case with 
the peasant girls of Domremy now, they lead the 



58 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

cattle to the fields, but they have nothing to do 
with the horses, which are only used for draught. 
The habits of peasant life, being founded on neces- 
sities, do not change readily. Jeanne herself said 
she had never ridden on horseback. She had 
hitherto made her journeys on foot. 

Jeanne knew nothing of feminine disabilities; she 
had to go, and she went. Schiller makes his Jeanne, 
a thoroughly German Johanna, give vent to a fine 
soliloquy on quitting her peasant condition and 
beginning a public career. The reality is that 
she felt all that Schiller describes, but said nothing 
about it (she was not given to much talking), but 
she went forth bravely with self-renunciation to 
do what the Lord commanded her in the way 
prescribed. The Voices told her to go to Baudri- 
court at Vaucouleurs ; therefore she did not set 
out instead to walk to Chinon, begging her bread 
and falling into ill-repute by the way. 

The church of Vaucouleurs is modern renais- 
sance, Avith ceilings and spandrils painted in the 
Italian style. One walks up the flight of steps 
outside to the left of it to see what was once the 
crypt of the chapel where Jeanne d'Arc prayed. 
Very little remains of this ; but two trefoiled 
windows and a small door explain its situation. 
The crypt is no longer a crypt, but the most ex- 
posed object on the hill-side. Its position shows 
that the chapel of the castle most probably stood 
above it; at the back of it, among reddening 
sumach and tangled vegetation, are vestiges of 
what was once finely-cut gothic sculpture. Several 



JOURNEY TO VAUCOULEURS. 69 

paths and flights of steps wind about among the 
ruins of the castle, held for the king by the Sire 
de Baudricourt, who continued unshakingiy faithful 
to his king. As punishment for this fidelity, the D uke 
of Bedford sequestrated his lands at Chaumont. 
Vaucouleurs had become quite a Castle Dangerous. 

Of this once important frontier fortress little but 
the fine site remains, and only traces of walls. It 
was well situated for a citadel, commanding, 
though at no great height, a view of the valley of 
the Meuse, and a wide reach of neighbouring 
country. It was one of the few towms north of 
the Loire that held out for Charles the dauphin. 
The castle and town of Vaucouleurs had to sustain 
the first shock of the Anglo-Burgundian bands. 

Down in the town, not far from the railway 
station, there are several round towers of smoothly 
cut stone, forming part of the former town wall, 
which is now used as the back of a street of small 
houses. The town is well-situated on the Meuse, 
in the midst of a fertile flowery valley ; hence its 
name, vallee des couleurs, vallis colorum. 



60 



CHAPTER IV. 

TOUL AND NANCY. 

'• Et que vous a dit la voix ?' 

' Elle m'a dit de repondre hardiment, et que Dieu m'aiderait.' 
(' And what did the voice tell you ?' 

' It told me to answer boldly, and that God would help me.') 

Jeanne d' Arc's Interrogatory at Ruuen. 

The fame of Jeanne's visions spread and reached 
the ears of the Duke of Lorraine, lying sick in 
his palace at Nancy. She most come to visit 
him and work his cure. There was time to spare, 
since, notwithstanding the pressing need of France 
and Jeanne's desire to set out on her great mis- 
sion, Robert de Baudricourt could not make up 
his mind to send her to the dauphin, and a man 
who is afraid of facing a responsibility has always 
time to deliberate. This was a preparation to 
Jeanne for the harder trials of patience she would 
meet by-and-by, when she found greater people 
deliberate when they should be acting. 

' What are you doing here, ma mie ?' said Jean 
de Novelonpont, going to see her at the wheel- 
wright's. ' Must the king be driven from the 
kingdom — must we all become English?' 



TOUL AND NANCY. 61 

Among the consequences of the treaty of Troyes 
was the occupation of Champagne by the in- 
vaders. The castle and town of Vaucouleurs was 
in fact the last shred of French territory that 
Charles had been able to retain in the eastern 
extremity of his kingdom. This is the point of 
the question put by Jean de Novelonpont, ' Why 
are you delaying, ma mie — are we all to become 
English?' 

' I am come here, to the king's house ' — Vau- 
couleurs was a royal town — ' to speak to Robert 
de Baudricourt to take me or send me to the 
king. But he cares not for me nor for my Avords. 
And yet, before mid-Lent, I must be before the 
king, even should I wear my feet to the knees ; 
for no one in the world, neither kings, dukes, nor 
the King of Scotland's daughter, none other can 
recover the kingdom of France. He has no help 
but in me ; and truly I had much rather spin by 
my poor mother's side, for this is not my condi- 
tion of life. But I must go and I must act, 

because mv Lord wills it.' 

./ 

' Who is your Lord ?' 

' He is God.' 

The brave soldier, taking her hands between 
his own, swore by his faith that, God helping, he 
would conduct her to the king, and asked her 
when she would set out. 

' To-day rather than to-morrow — to-morrow 
rather than later,' she replied. 

This call of the Duke of Lorraine seemed to open 
another door of hope to Jeanne. He might do for 



62 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

her what Baudricourt refused or delayed, or he 
might send his son-in-law, Rene of Anjou, who 
was well affected to the cause, to accompany her 
into France. She would neglect nothing that 
might compass her object. She furnished herself 
with a safe conduct and went to Nancy. Jean de 
Metz (Novelonpont) accompanied her and her 
uncle to Toul, and she continued her journey to 
the duke with her uncle, Durand Laxart. 

This was not the first time Jeanne had been 
at Toul. She had gone there the year before to 
deny before the diocesan officials a pretended 
promise of marriage with a man whom her 
parents encouraged, thus hoping to keep her 
at home and put all ideas of war and visions 
out of her head. It is taken for granted by 
Monsieur Simeon Luce that this young man 
became acquainted with Jeanne during her 
short sojourn at Neufchateau. She appeared 
personally before the judge and made him be- 
lieve her word. Vaucouleurs and the villages 
in its vicinity, although French, it appears were 
subject to the spiritual jurisdiction of the Bishop 
of Toul, which was a free city of the German 
empire, added to France in 1552. 

This was Jeanne's first experience of ecclesi- 
astical law. 

Jeanne, in her first journey to Toul, did not 
pass through Vaucouleurs, but followed the ridge 
of the Roman road that runs from Toul to Langres. 
Part of this road still remains, and is visible near 
Domremy. 



TOUL AND NANCY. 68 

From Vaucouleurs there are two roads to Toul : 
one is the present route nationale by Blenod-les- 
Toul, the other lies through the Bois du Chanois 
and the Bois du Domgermain. The forest road 
is that probably followed by Jeanne, as it is 
shorter. The railway to Toul passes by the junc- 
tion at Pagny, where it crosses the Meuse and 
enters the valley of the Moselle, which has here 
the appearance of a canal. The towers of Toul 
look fine from a distance, but the town seems 
sad in being too near a foreign frontier. They 
are strengthening the already strong fortifica- 
tions. The dirty town is tightly packed within 
its walls, giving it a decidedly raediasval aspect. 
The streets are tortuous and intricate ; one is 
glad to find rest for the eye in the graceful, 
flamboyant cloister of St. Gengoult, resembling 
the cloisters of Westminster Abbey, enclosing a 
garden of bays, pomegranates, and oleanders. 
There is some fine old glass in the church. It 
is impossible to get a good view of this double- 
towered church, the town is so crowded round 
it. The only open space in the city is in front 
of the cathedral, which is also twin- towered, and a 
fine building. 

This was the first cathedral Jeanne ever saw, 
an inferior Rheims, as moonlight unto sunlight ; 
but still there is enough resemblance to have 
struck her forcibly on entering Rheims. After 
Domremy, breathing the spirit of peace and pas- 
toral simplicity, it strikes a grisly contrast to 
enter this Bellona-like place, all bristling with 



64 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

war and eager for revenge. Beyond the cathe- 
dral lie the barracks and the especially military 
quarter. Drawbridges lead through the fortifica- 
tions to the bridges over the canal, which here is 
islanded and broad. 

The walk from Toul to Nancy is twenty-four 
kilometres, about fifteen miles, and when one 
once commits oneself to the road one must walk 
all the way, as no horse or carriage can now be 
obtained between the two towns, and there is no 
direct railway. Jeanne went there on foot with 
her uncle, as Jean de Metz had left them at Toul. 
The road was not so good then as it is now, as 
one can judge by portions of the old road visible 
as one gets into the hilly country about Nancy. 

The way lies across the Moselle bridge. The 
view of the double-towered cathedral, with the 
traceried crowns, embosomed in trees and doubly 
reflected in the canal and the Moselle, is delight- 
ful when the mist lifts itself above a rounded but 
lofty hill, a spur of the Vosges. The road is 
charming as it drops into the suburb of Daumar- 
tin-les-Toul, with its Italian bell- tower and church, 
the cathedral remaining long in sight after the 
bastions have sunk in distance, as one ascends 
the hill to Gondreville. The way becomes even 
prettier on gaining the high champaign-land, 
w^here the high-road lies for many kilometres 
through a wood, the Bois de Hayes, which is 
cleared for about a hundred yards on either side 
of the road. 

Hunting often goes on in this wood, and a sort 



TOUL AND NANCY. 65 

of battue-shooting. It is enchanting to hear the 
huntsmen winding their horns so prettily and 
frequently, or sometimes musically whistling the 
tune, while others within the wood are shouting 
and the dogs baying. Wolves are numerous in 
the recesses of the wood, but one seldom sees 
larger game than a hare scampering across the 
road. The hunters on battue days stand behind 
the trees with their guns cocked, ready to fire at 
anything that the dogs may turn out of the wood. 
This seems as patient work as fishing. 

The road, in October, is a path of gold, lying be- 
neath a vegetable cloister of alternate sycamore 
and poplar, the sycamores making the road dense 
with their falling leaves, mostly yellow, but often 
scarlet, green, and gold, like zonal geraniums. 
These trees, shorter than the poplars, fill the inter- 
vening spaces with their dropping amber, beautiful 
to walk under as a laburnum grove. One cannot 
tire of such a road in the brisk autumn weather, 
though it is a sparsely inhabited region. It was 
less beautiful when Jeanne d'Arc passed here in 
the middle of February, 1429. 

Between Toul and Nancy there are only two 
tiny villages besides Gondreville, which is 
somewhat more important, and a half-way post- 
ing-house with empty stables. But the ground 
lies very high, and one can hear the distant 
chime of many village church bells on a Sunday, 
harmonizing with the hunters' chorus within the 
wood, for on a Sunday especially the air is musi- 
cal with these latter sounds. 



66 . FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

At the Poste Velaine, just halt- way betwixt 
Toul and Nancy, the character of the road 
chancres, and the landscape becomes more broken 
and picturesque in the peeps seen among the 
gathering mists. At present the road is carried 
across the valleys by two tine lofty viaducts lined 
Avith ash-trees : the old road lies green below, and 
even this has a low viaduct, which was probably 
not there when Jeanne and her uncle journeyed 
to Nancy. 

The sick Duke of Lorraine had tried all human 
(and other) means to be healed, but that of lead- 
ing a good life. Jeanne pointed out to him the 
only permanent cure. She told him he ruled 
himself ill, and would only amend by his own 
efforts, and counselled him to take back his good 
wife. 

The common sense of a clear and pious mind 
was enough to show her this. She pretended to 
work no miraculous cures ; she declared she knew 
nothing concerning his malady ; but she unfolded 
to him her patriotic object, hoping the duke might 
be moved to aid her. If he would let his son-in- 
law command some men-at-arms to convoy her 
through France, she would heartily pray God to 
grant him health. Jeanne herself, while fully 
persuaded of her Divine mission, always used the 
plain good sense God had given her to help her 
forward in the way pointed out to her. 

Michelet says, and truly, ' The originality of the 
Pucelle which ensured her success did not so 
much consist in her valour or her visions, as in 



TOUL AND NANCY. 67 

her good sense.' Through all her enthusiasm 
the girl saw the question and how it was to be 
solved. 

The duke had no mind to forward her ends ; 
there were political difficulties in the way of this, 
but towards herself he showed respect and con- 
sideration. He bade her a gracious farewell, and 
supplied her with a small sum of money and a 
horse. Charles of Lorraine is said to have given 
her 'four franks at parting,' which she sent to 
her parents by her uncle. All this showed she 
had demeaned herself in a modest and decorous 
manner towards him, and that her unwelcome 
advice had not been couched in offensive language. 

So ended a trial of faith for Jeanne ; but she 
was not cast down. Had He not promised to be 
with her ? — He whose archangel said, ' Fille De, 
va, va, va. Je serai a ton aide.' 

The gay, bright town of Nancy has always 
been pretty, though it has no great architec- 
tural interest ; a curio as thing, as thfe town 
would seem to have always gone with the fashion. 
But it looks too new, and the old things have 
too much of the Renaissance character to have 
been seen by our Jeanne. 

Murray calls the church of St. Epvre ' old, but 
much altered.' It looks modern in every stone. 
It is like a conservatory for light, being all over- 
coloured modern windows; really too gay not to be 
startling, but with every detail perfectly, exquisite- 
ly, and expensively carried out. The large aisle 
and clerestory windows are all of them sheets of 

f2 



68 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

dazzling colour. There is scarcely any wall left, 
all is rainbow glass. This has a most curious effect. 
Grey-tinted angels fill the spandrils, and the neces- 
sarily few wall decorations are everywhere equally 
well-executed, strictly in the selected period of 
pure decorated Gothic ; but all breathes the very 
spirit of Nancy, gay, modern, bright, and pretty. 
^ La plus jolie ville de France ' looks like a pretty 
young married lady decked in her new trousseau. 

But the palace of the Dukes of Lorraine, a 
two-floored building with high-peaked roofs and 
dormers and tourelles, still remains, though not 
unaltered. The present building is for the most 
part flamboyant Gothic of the sixteenth century. 
The portal and gate-house are delightful. There 
are also several remains of the ancient walls and 
city gates. One of these, with a portcullis and 
a triple gateway is highly picturesque. These 
old walls are being levelled, which seems a pity ; 
yet Nancy, the gracious lady in robes of peace, 
is happier-looking than Toul, the armed soldier. 
Its gilt gates and filagree fences are better suited 
to its gay disposition than old walls and bastions. 

Nancy is frivolous and careless as ever. (They 
even sing out of tune in the churches.) There is 
nothing to compel one to anything but pleasure, 
one lives in a sweet dream of confectioners' shops, 
and Nancy's principal manufacture of pretty em- 
broidery. The inns all look like limited liability 
companies' asylums; and oh, the pompousness 
and imprisonment of it all after little free-hearted 
Domremy ! 



TOUL AND NANCY. 69 

Nancy cherishes no storied past ; even the 
student subsides into a relish of the shops, the 
fashions, and the relief of there being nothing 
worth drawing or writing about, no goading 
conscience to egg him on to spoil a holiday ; no- 
thing ' early pointed,' or, if Gothic, of a viciously 
debased period, quite beneath an enlightened 
modern to care about ; no objects of interest, no 
works of art. 

Isabey, the painter, indeed presented a collection 
of his paintings to the town, and the town knows 
nothing of their whereabouts. Even a diligent 
quest may fail to discover their locality. The 
old concierge at the palace of the Dukes of Lor- 
raine looks quite thankful that he has not got 
them to take care of and exhibit. The academy 
(or college), the Hotel de Ville, and the Musee 
Lorrain resolutely repudiate the soft impeach- 
ment. We should disbelieve the guide-books 
which affirm their existence had we not once 
had a similar experience at Douai, where a search 
for Memling's paintings was equally bewildering 
to all the municipal authorities ; where no one 
understood such an inquiry at all. No one had 
ever heard of Hemling — Memling ? — no, nor 
any such name. They only knew the modern 
pictures in the churches, which cost, oh ! ever 
so many francs. Where after a game of hide- 
and-seek, being passed on through every public 
building, from the museum to St. Pierre, and 
thence to Notre Dame, Hans Hemling's magni- 
ficent altarpiece was at length discovered in 



70 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

a dusty^ uncared-for condition in the sacristy. 

'- Ma foi, c'est bien joli,' said a young work- 
man, coming forward likewise to view a novelty. 
This seemed to us uneducated praise or faint 
appreciation. 

Foiled in her hope of help from the great 
nobles, Jeanne d'Arc turned to God alone for 
encouragement. St. Nicholas-du-Port, a famous 
shrine in those days, where Jeanne took the 
opportunity, before leaving Nancy, to make a 
pilgrimage, is only two leagues out of the town. 
It is the first station on the line to Forbach and 
the Rhine. Alas, directly the frontier is crossed, 
the mutual hatred of two great nations, both of 
them leaders of a high civilization, is manifest 
in every petty detail. There is small thought of 
saints and saintly ways here, no care for pilgrim- 
ages, nor even forms of politeness. 

The air is defiled with the dirtiest smoke of the 
dirtiest coal to be found anywhere ; and hearts are 
blackened with international animosity. The very 
music is a war-cry. The ' Marseillaise ' is hissed 
between the gnashing teeth on the crowded rail- 
way platforms. Patriotism is a defiance. ' Vive 
la France ' is uttered bitterly and with flashing 
eyes, and answered with contempt. Both nations 
are seen at their worst and meanest. The good- 
hearted men of the Fatherland are petty tyrants 
here, full of rough insolence, insensible to the 
cruelty of trampling on a fallen foe. ' Pesche,' 
say they rudely as they hurry the swarming pas- 
sengers into the crowded carriages of the market 



TOUL AND NANCY. 71 

trains. ' Pesche/ their rough and ready way of 
saying ' depechez-vous/ to a people accustomed to 
the ceremonious politeness of ' Montez en voiture, 
s'il vous plait, messieurs et 'dames.' 

The contrast of their manner is great when 
compared with their kindliness and attention to 
ourselves directly we are discovered to be English. 

The days of chivalry are over, and war no 
longer carries the palliatives which made a condi- 
tion of warfare endurable in former days. Let us 
hope that before long civilization may be able to 
perfect itself into peace. 



72 



CHAPTER V. 

THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 

* Allez done, allez, et advienne que pourra!' (' Go, tlien, go, and 
let come of it what may !') 

Robert de Baudricourt to Jeanne d'Arc. 

From St. Nicholas-du-Port Jeanne returned to 
Vaucouleurs again to wait upon the good pleasure 
of her superiors. Faith must always be wrapped 
in patience. She was ready to work. News had 
come of the defeat of Rouvray (? so it is asserted). 
It must have travelled quickly, as Lent had begun, 
Ash-Wednesday was the 9th February, and the 
' Battle of Herrings ' was fought early in Lent. 
Again Jeanne pressed the commandant to send 
her to the dauphin's aid. 

The well-known secret of eloquence is to be in 
earnest. Enthusiasm warms even unbelief with 
its own fire. Jeanne was certain of her mission, 
and so could impart its faith to those who could 
not read her credentials ; who had never felt the 
glow of inspiration. Baudricourt, convinced or 
weary, troubled by her importunity, at length 
gave his consent to her departure on the 13th of 



THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 73 

February, the first Sunday in Lent. This requires 
explanation. Tradition says she warned him of a 
pressing danger to France on the very day of 
Rouvray ; this is difficult to reconcile with his 
disbelief in her word. Ill news travels fast, but 
tidings of the defeat of Rouvray could scarcely 
have reached Vaucouleurs by the 13th of February. 
These more probably came in the further interval of 
preparation for Jeanne's departure, and the date may 
have coincided with her most pressing entreaty. 
It is most likely a message from Chinon gave 
sanction to Jeanne's journey. Now she was really 
able to prepare to go : to set forth as succour to 
the dauphin : a forlorn hope, looked upon by the 
great as was the ark that Noah built to save the 
remnant of a lost and wilful world. This little 
seed of a great army comprised Jeanne and her 
two friends, Jean de Metz, knight, and Bertrand 
de Poulengy, squire, with their two servants, and 
Colet de Vienne, the king's messenger, and 
Richard the Archer. But it was not an army that 
she sought at Vaucouleurs, it was leave to act, to 
carry out what seemed a wild scheme. The late 
Lord Lytton said ' nothing ever so inspires human 
daring as the fond belief that it is the agent of a 
Divine Wisdom.' One finds in ' fanaticism the 
spot out of the world by which to move the world. 
The prudent man may direct a state ; but it is the 
enthusiast who regenerates — or ruins it.' 

On Wednesday, the 23rd of February, Jeanne 
set out for Chinon, a ride of one hundred and fifty 
leagues, with five great rivers to cross, through the 



74 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

heart of France, a country for the most part in 
the hands of the enemy, to meet the true heir to 
the throne, and cheer him by God's promises. The 
little troop travelled by the shortest way, as the 
crow flies, as nearly as the nature of the ground 
permitted. There was need of haste, for the cause 
was at its last gasp. On the morrow of her de- 
parture from Vaucouleurs, leaving Domremy on 
the left, she halted at the Abbey of St. Urbain 
(Haute Marne), which is at twenty-eight miles 
distance, in the straight line, which cannot there- 
fore be reckoned practically as less than a thirty 
miles' ride. They ran the risk of many dangers. 
The men-at-arms of the marches of the Loire were 
reputed, with the Bretons, the greatest robbers 
the world produced. Their habits of brigandage, 
and of burning and pillaging the country became 
proverbial. There were four adventurers, the 
brothers Du Fay, who never ceased to ravage this 
part of the country. Perpetual skirmishes were 
likewise going on between the two great parties, 
Armagnac and Burgundian. Received at St. Ur- 
bain for the night with her little escort, she had 
the encouragement of hearing mass before re- 
commencing her long and perilous ride. Portions 
of this abbey are still standing, and the village 
which grew up under the shadow of its walls is 
only a few kilometres from the stations of Donjeux 
and Joinville. 

Passing between Sionne and Midrevaux, they 
took the road to Grand, abutting on the left bank of 
the Saunelle. At Grand are the remains of a Gallo- 



THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 75 

Roman town and vast amphitheatre, whose elliptic 
curve is traceable among heaps of grass-grown 
ruin. One portico remains standing. Grand was 
the scene of martyrdom of many noble victims 
under Julian the Apostate. The place was doubt- 
less familiar to Jeanne d'Arc, who must at least 
have knoAvn the sepulchre of St. Libaire, the virgin 
martyr. 

But thoughts of martyrdom were far removed 
from the heroic maiden, full of strength, with 
happiness rising in her like the spring sap rising 
in the woods around; achievement before her, 
after so long waiting ; in all the joy of action ; 
in the saddle with victory calling her on. It was 
a fine moment of expansion, of hope enjoyed, 
worth a lifetime of fulj&lment. The sw^eet vivid 
dreams of youth were shared at any rate by the 
younger of her companions. It needed this 
sympathy to complete the enjoyment, for ' what 
but youth can echo back the soul of youth — all 
the music of its wild vanities and romantic follies.' 

But no love-dreams mingled with Jeanne's glad- 
ness. Nowhere do we read that Bertrand de 
Poulengy was more to her than the staid old 
knight, Jean de Metz, who risked his lands and 
office for his trust in this chance of France's de- 
liverance. Jeanne's life is not one of a succes- 
sion of novels, as our English history has been 
called. It has no love romance — it is a tragic 
poem. 

Throughout the whole campaign, notwithstand- 
ing her male attire and her military bearing, no 



76 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

one thought of Jeanne as other than a military" 
leader, a public character of ideal interest. Her 
own conduct was so good and pure, while thrown 
entirely among men, that the halo of holiness, 
rather than romance, around her was held sacred 
by the chivalry of that time. Her foes maligned 
her, but it was left to the age when chivalry was 
extinct absolutely to insult her, notwithstanding 
the pretended modesty of her enemies concerning 
her apparel. As for the English, it was the sup- 
posed witch they shuddered at ; as a woman, they 
even admired her. It shows the extent to which 
womanly influence may be carried that she puri- 
fied the whole French camp. 

Miss Parr says Bertrand de Poulengy was six 
years older than Jean de Metz ; but no contem- 
porary author is an authority for this. Petitot 
says De Poulengy was the younger of her two 
guides, and this is the general idea. Poulengy 
defrayed the expenses of the route. Lebrun de 
Charmettes says her brother, Pierre d'Arc, went 
with her from Vaucouleurs to Chinon, though he 
admits no deposition says so ; indeed, all evidence 
from after-date writings is against it. De Metz 
and Poulengy avow that at first they felt much 
doubt and fear. Some of the party, when daunted 
by the perils of the journey, wished to put her 
in prison (dans quelque geole). Lenglet du 
Fresnoy's translator makes it, ' throw her down 
a quarry,' connecting, 1 presume, the ideas of 
geole and geologic. Being an error, of course 



THROUGH THE HEART 01^ FRANCE. 77 

other writers fall into it. One legendary historian 
makes quite a melodramatic passage concerning 
the wild quarries where it was proposed to throw 
Jeanne over the cliiF and return from the foolish 
and hazardous expedition. 

The land was bubbling with the February water- 
springs, and bursting with the first promise of buds, 
as the little cavalcade rode through these woods 
and broken ground, on the 24th of February ; 
crossing the Marne above Joinville, set pictur- 
esquely in its rocky hills and vinej^ards ; a beautiful 
country, where Jeanne could not yet feel entirely 
among strangers. These hills were also well- 
known to her, at least in outline, for she was 
still not far from home. The breeze rustling 
among the crisp unshed brown leaves of the 
beech-trees in these high-seated forests ; the rush- 
ing rivers among the lofty rocks, and the lowing 
of the cattle were all sounds familiar to her from 
infancy. Only the yellow Marne had replaced 
the clear green Meuse in this the next-door 
valley. The Ornain and the Saulx played and 
sparkled like her own brooks at Domremy. They 
slept on the ground in their armour by their 
horses. 

From St. Urbain to Bar-sur-Aube is twenty - 
eight miles (in a direct line). They did not enter 
the town, but forded the river at a short distance 
above the walls. Most likely they halted for the 
night of February the 24th at some sheltered 
nook in the recesses of Mont St. Germaine, before 



78 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

arriving near the town which is situated on the 
right bank of the river. They would not care 
to ford the stream in the evening, for in February 
it is still early dusk, and fords are liable to 
become treacherous with the thaw. They may 
have supped on some of the good Aube trout, 
or have sent one of their number into the town 
to procure supplies. They were seven hungry 
persons to be catered for. 

Bar-sur-Aube is now a town of 4,780 inhabitants. 
A chapel on its stone bridge marks the place where 
Charles VII. (Jeanne's dauphin) caused the revolted 
Bastard of Bourbon to be broken on the wheel and 
his body sewn in a sack and cast into the river. 
This was ten years after Jeanne d'Arc's death. 
Though not easily roused to the more generous 
passions, Charles was fully capable of revenge. 
The church of St. Pierre at Bar is very ancient, 
and deep sunken in the earth. 

Friday's ride of about twenty -five miles to Bar- 
sur-Seine was over easier ground, and by using 
caution, they could follow the direct road. They 
were in an enemy's country, and of course wished 
to evade observation, being too few to defend 
themselves against numbers; still they were 
enough to overpower any small marauding party, 
being, in the strength of their resolution, equal 
to any ten men who might seek to hinder their 
passage. The country hereabouts loses its moun- 
tainous character, but its outlines are pleasing 
and picturesque. The Seine is here quite a 
young river, and the ford presents no great 



THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 79 

difficulty. Bar is now merely a quiet country 
town with a pretty church. 

The necessity of providing supplies must have 
been embarrassing, as their little force would 
scarcely dare approach the bourgades or fortified 
villages ; and in those unsettled times there were 
few outlying farms or detached dwellings which 
might have furnished them with what they need- 
ed for money or for love. Of course the castles 
and monasteries were the usual resource for 
travellers in those days, but they dared not ven- 
ture near the castles, nor do they seem to have 
approached any monastery after leaving St. Ur- 
bain. The grass just springing made it compara- 
tively easy to provide for their horses. On 
Saturday, the 26th of February, they took the 
Tonnerre road ; presumably so, for no details are 
given of this part of their course. The high road 
from Bar-sur-Seine is by Les Riceys, but the road 
by Chaource and Coussegrey is the most direct, 
and Berriat Saint Prix thinks they followed this 
path. They would have passed near Tonnerre, 
but we cannot suppose in any case that they 
mounted the hill on which Tonnerre stands, 
crowned with the church of St. Pierre on its lofty 
platform of rock. The pleasant lime-tree avenues of 
Tonnerre would hardly then have rejoiced the 
travellers with their shade, even had this journey 
been in summer, though the lime lives to an 
immense age. They may have refreshed them- 
selves at the old Roman spring, Pons Dionysi, 
as it is supposed to be from its modern name of 



80 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

La Fontaine Fosse Dionne. Jeanne rarely touch- 
ed wine ; her habitual drink was water. They 
crossed the Seraing near Chablis, about twelve 
miles from Auxerre. By rising early on the 
morning of Sunday, the 27th, they would have 
reached Auxerre in time to hear the bells chimin 2: 
for high mass. For the first time Jeanne refused 
to be led by her guides, but insisted on a halt 
that she might attend service in the cathedral. 
' If we could hear mass,' she said, ^ we should do 
well.' 

She told them to have no fear, her heavenly 
guides would let them come to no harm. They 
had to cross the Yonne, and it seemed more 
reasonable to divide themselves and enter the 
town, which is on the left bank, by the bridge, 
than to risk fording the river swollen by the 
first spring floods. The attendants could buy pro- 
visions while the Maid was at mass, and they 
might set ofl* again while they still had day- 
light before them for a long journey. Their 
horses, after two or three hours' rest and a good 
feed, would be fresh for another start. On ex- 
amining coolly the Maid's suggestions, we always 
find a wonderful vein of practical intention in 
them ; no romantic folly ever mars the details of 
her great plan. Here spiritually protected and 
unrecognised, though the fame of her mission was 
already pretty well dispersed throughout the 
country, which made her travelling all the more 
dangerous, Jeanne worshipped in the great ca- 
thedral. In all other respects in this long jour- 



THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 81 

ney she let herself be led by her guides. God pre- 
served her alike from treachery and from the enemy. 
The grand bulk of the lofty cathedral rising 
above the houses and buildings of the town, a 
large city, now of over twelve thousand inhabi- 
tants, and overtopping the other large churches, 
presented an irresistible attraction to Jeanne 
d'Arc. Great must have been the fearful pleasure 
of joining in the service. Internally this church, 
built in 1213, rivals even Coutances. It is built 
over a yet earlier church, date 1005, whose crypt 
lies beneath the choir. Jeanne must have seen, 
too, the curious painting at the end of the crypt 
of the White Horse of the Apocalypse, with its 
rider ; its date is near the end of the twelfth cen- 
tury. The external traceries of this splendid cathe- 
dral are of the finest, boldest style, in high relief, 
and in some parts quite detached from the wall. 
The richly coloured glass must have been a 
marvel of magnificence to our shepherdess, and 
the splendid doors and rose windows, which are 
especially fine at Auxerre, must, in their gorge- 
ous beauty, have given rise to emotions such as we 
can scarcely conceive. Perhaps an imaginative 
child's first sight of a transformation scene at 
a theatre is the nearest parallel we have to this 
luxury of esthetic emotion in one so unsophisticated 
and susceptible as Jeanne. The Lady Chapel of this 
church is remarkably elegant. The ancient walls 
of Auxerre are now levelled and made into boule- 
vards, and the moat planted in gardens shaded by 
acacias and vines. The ivied towers remain to 

G 



82 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

form delightful foreground features of a highly 
pleasing landscape. 

Jeanne incurred greater risk in entering Aux- 
erre than perhaps she understood. The town 
had suiFered too severely from the English in 
1359 and afterwards, to allow them to afford 
shelter to professed enemies of that power. 
Even in the successful progress of the king to- 
wards Rheims, four months later, it was with the 
utmost difficulty that Charles could obtain the 
least concession from the timid inhabitants of 
Auxerre. 

Refreshed in every way, that afternoon saw the 
little party well on their way towards the Loire ; 
but whether by the Bleneau or the Toucy road 
cannot be ascertained, as, sleeping in the fields, it 
is not said near what villages they stopped, and 
towns are scarce hereabout. The high road lies 
near Toucy, Fargeau, St. Sauveur, and St. Amand. 
Going by Courson and the pools of Entrains, one 
turns to the right at Bleneau on the Loing, and 
strikes across westward to Gien, by way of woods 
and pools. It is difficult even at this day to say 
which road has the greatest advantages ; then 
probably it was only between disadvantages one 
could choose, as at that time there was no high 
road between Auxerre and Gien. The ancient 
churches show that small towns or villages existed 
then, and paths of communication must have lain 
between them, if only for markets and pur- 
poses of barter. From Auxerre to Gien is forty-four 
miles direct; of course, considerably more when 



THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 83 

allowing for deviations of the road. It is only 
when we come upon the Roman roads, of which, 
however, there are many in France, that we can 
measure Jeanne's journeys wdth any degree of 
exactness ; though the tracks most frequently 
followed the present lines. A line of road is 
one of the most permanent geographical outlines. 
It changes its course less frequently than a river, 
and walls are not to be compared with it for dura- 
bility. The wall of China is the great exception, 
but then the Tartars have no roads. 

At length they looked over the vale of the 
Loire, beyond which lived their friends. Monday 
night, the 28th of February, brought them to 
Gien, high-seated on its hill above the Loire, 
round the base of which the town now nestles. 
The red- brick castle, with its high-pitched lead 
roof with many pinnacles and fleches, and its tall, 
peaked church tower, then, as now, crested the 
height above the bridge, the deep-arched, heavily- 
buttressed bridge of unequal arches which rises to 
an angle of 140'' in the centre. One now^ walks 
from the train to the town by the side of vine- 
yarded hill-slopes. 

Gien was chosen for their passage of the Loire, 
being one of the fcAv tow^ns on the river faithful 
to the dauphin. There w^as, however, the doubt as 
to whether on their arrival it still belonged to 
France. They w^ould have made guarded in- 
quiries at Auxerre and later on, but information 
was difficult for them to come by without exciting 
suspicion, and events moved quickly in those 

g2 



84 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

times of war. AVas Gien, at that moment, in the 
hands of the enemy ? Upon this would depend the 
difficulty of the passage of the Loire. Were it a 
friendly town, it w^ould be passed by the bridge ; 
that is if there was a bridge at all ; in which case 
it would be the same bridge that is at present 
standing, altered to its present form when the 
newly -built bridge of Blois was so greatly admired 
in Louis XV. 's time. If Gien were in the hands of 
the enemy, they must have passed it by a ferry and 
a ford — a matter easy enough, if under the eyes of 
friends in the castle above,but otherwise afearful risk. 

Oh, joy ! it yet belonged to their friends. Gien 
is said to be the first French town Jeanne passed 
on the route. Doubtless she rendered thanks for 
her safe arrival in the valley of the Loire at the 
hio^h-seated church of St. Etienne on the hill 
overlooking the river. Its old square, heavily- 
buttressed tower remains, though the nave is 
modern. One goes up many steps, in two or 
three long flights, to reach the church from the 
embankment road by the Loire, turning off on 
the right to the old castle, which is now the 
prefecture. The promenade beyond the church 
commands a fine view, with long reaches of the 
Loire, flowing by the Orleans she was to save. 
The Orleanais soon learned of the Maid's ap- 
proach ; she is very likely to have sent them a 
message from Gien. Jeanne had quite the modern 
idea of saving time by at once preparing for her 
next step by letter or by message. 

Gien is now a dull little town of five thousand 



THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 85 

five hundred inhabitants, of the same family as 
Blois, and many of the towns on the Loire ; the 
conformation of the ground, and therefore their 
arrangement, is so similar, as is the waywardness 
of the river, that spoiled child among streams. 
It can be reckoned upon in its fits of passion, 
though not controlled. ' Quel torrent revolu- 
tionnaire que cette Loire !' exclaimed the dema- 
gogue on seeing the sand-banks brought forward 
and left dry by its current. Other people have 
also had reflections on the Loire. The engineer 
thinks he has perfected mechanism, wdiich he says 
is merely educating the forces of Nature as we 
train our own strength for use. Yet he vainly tries 
to curb this river and make it a useful water-power 
and water-way. Did Barrere the democrat reflect 
upon the uselessness of an impetuous people 
Avhen he only taught them to be self-willed ? 

Gien is proud of its potteries and enlivened by 
their smoke. Clothes beaten and washed in the 
Loire by women is the second active industry. 
This goes on always. Jeanne left the shelving 
hills and vineyards on the north bank, crossed 
the Loire, passed the Celtic tumulus called 
' Motte du Leon,' then away through the poplared 
levels of the southern bank. Leaving to the 
northward the river flowing towards Jargeau and 
Orleans, scenes of her future triumphs, she rode 
across the then desolate district of La Sologne, 
by way of Romorantin on the Sauldre ; though 
the little party seem to have avoided the towns 
even here in friendly country. Sleeping as they 



86 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UAUC. 

did out of doors, every night making this more 
endurable as the weather and the climate grew 
milder, this plan was swifter and safer ; for even 
here, or perhaps especially here, past Gien in the 
country nominally obedient to Charles VII., there 
reigned ' toutes pilleries et roberies.' ^ 

This part of France is now a great meat pro- 
ducing country. There is veal and pork in abun- 
dance, and the new line of rail recently opened, 
from Romorantin to Blois, is especially useful to 
the farmers. The land, though well-cultivated in 
parts, is not naturally fertile, for all the splendour 
of crimson clover that the summer traveller sees. 
There are numerous fir plantations among the re- 
mains of ancient forest land. In winter it reveals 
itself as still the sad and sandy Sologne. 

From Gien to Romorantin it is fifty miles direct. 
I shall not describe Romorantin here, as Jeanne 
only passed by it on this journey, and in later 
times she often had occasion to pass through the 
town. Indeed there is very little to describe, 
only two market places, side by side, and some 
pretty walks by the Sauldre. She followed the 
Sauldre from Selles-St. -Denis to Romorantin, 
thence by Salbris to Selles-sur-Cher. Murray, 
until his very latest edition, does not even men- 
tion the place at all. 

From Romorantin to Selles-sur-Cher the coun- 
try has still the same arid character, but on cross- 
ing the Cher, the horizon soon breaks into hills 
and undulating forests. The old but insignificant 
town of Selles is only of note as a radius for 



THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 87 

excursions to sundry fine castles in its neighbour- 
hood. 

Leaving Selles, one soon arrives at high-seated 
St. Aiman, with its octa^^onal battlemented tower 
and its fine romanesque church, with admixture 
of early pointed. Tlie present chateau of St. 
Aignan is well kept up, with fine gardens beauti- 
fully laid out and thrown open to the townspeople. 
A tall mass of ruined wall represents much of St. 
Aignan's ancient splendour. In these more peace- 
ful times, instead of lying close-packed and un- 
wholesome within w^alls, it has a flourishing 
suburb of tile-roofed houses of hewn-stone, with 
artichoke gable-ends ; and on the hills the tile or 
plank-roofed huts of vine-dressers, looking most 
habitable and comfortable, are set in vineyards 
where the earth is ridged high, almost like walls, 
to plant new vines. 

The scenery is pretty, with a blue distance 
which in some dips looks like the sea in its 
intensity of azure, and a deep dell full of tall 
forest trees, by way of which one comes out upon 
a pleasant woodland, with broad oaks in the more 
open country, and a foreground of blue columbine, 
white orchis, and abundance of the most delicate 
little forget-me-nots imaginable, of an exquisite 
hue of blue. These gems of colour adorned 
Jeanne's triumphant return journey in May ; but 
even now the wilder, unploughed portions of the 
ground were smiling with primroses and celandines. 

This is the light friable soil that chokes the 
Loire with its drift. Buttercups stand so thick 



88 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

among the corn that the ridge furrows are yellow 
with them. 

Tourists seldom or never come here. There is 
no railway in these parts. It exists iiwts primi- 
tive simplicity much as Jeanne d'Arc saw it in 
her travels, and her peasant eyes were not too 
much engaged with things supernatural, or the 
affairs of state, to note these things of earth. 
Dove-coloured oxen are harrowing on these un- 
dulating slopes, and the fields are girt about with 
forests, just as they must have been four hundred 
and fifty years ago. Many of these oaks must 
Jeanne have looked upon, and ridden under their 
branches. Her path would have skirted this Bois 
de la Laudiere. 

The village of Montresor boasts an inn with the 
sign of Jeanne d'Arc, although no one now seems 
to know anything of the passage of the heroine. 
Yet she rode by here several times in her tri- 
umphant days when following the court. Chemille 
has a romanesque church and the usual domical 
stone well- roofs. 

From here the ground again rises 'into moorland 
with heather, gorse, and brambles ; a brisk, cheery 
country, with crisp, fresh fine air and windy blue 
sky. Though not yet out in blossom when Jeanne 
passed on the 1st of March, this southern province 
of Berri was already wreathing itself with spring. 
We plunge down hill into the woods again. These 
are the woods and hills that slather the rain to 

CD 

fill the Indre and Cher. The road by the village 
of Chemille lies in a white, winding line at the 



THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 89 

foot of some broken tufa slopes studded with 
birch and fir, bordered by golden meadows on the 
left, and crosses (now by a bridge) a rush-grown 
rivulet, with water-lilies roofing in its stream, before 
it ajxain climbs the hill. The villao:es in the vales 
have high-pitched gables, spired tourelles, and 
peaked stone roofs, sometimes pyramidal, a sur- 
vival apparently of old times. 

Again we are on high champaign-land, with 
corn and vineyards, where kites soaring overhead 
pounce down upon the game, heedless of the vine- 
dressers at work among the vines. This culti- 
vated region is bounded by an oak forest, which 
is still so dense that on neither side can daylight 
be seen through its intricacies. Much of ancient 
travelling must have been done through these 
vegetable tunnels. It was a common proverb, 
says Richer, ' Que les Anglois, par leur puissance, 
avaient fait venir les bois en France.' The English 
are not directly responsible for this fine forest, but 
industry was so suspended by the war that there 
were not hands left sufficient to keep Nature in 
subjection. This forest is only pierced by the 
road, and landmarked by the obelisk near the 
' Mais on forestiere de Beauchene.' Here and there 
towers up a monarch beech, but for the most 
part it is a fine oak forest with undergrowth of 
beeches, fern, and broom. The deeply-ridged 
grey freckled stems of the oaks are a contrast 
to the satiny smoothness of the beech. The 
oaks grow tall, through being so close together, 
in the fashion of all French trees, which makes 



90 FOOf STEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

the timber better available for building purposes 
tlian our large-boiled, spreading trees. Like the 
old Romans, the French are builders and road- 
makers before all things 

People here never seem weary of planting. 
The noble forest of Beauchene gradually melts 
into the open, lessening into dense oak planta- 
tions with green alleys through them, and fir- 
clad slopes led up to by hedges lined with 
apple-trees. Here we are at a village, Genille, 
with the tall, Romanesque spired tower of Beau- 
lieu to the left. The abbey church of Beaulieu, 
built in the first years of the eleventh century 
and consecrated in 1007 under Pope John XVIII. 
This carries the imagination back into the gloom 
of the dark ages, when art had only dawned in 
western architecture. The stone, four- sided roofed 
cottage on the hill to the left, ' built very long 
ago,' as they say here, looks like the domestic 
architecture of almost as early a date, when 
strength and durability were the first of quali- 
ties in all things made for use. 

It is a fair scene, this of the river Indre and 
its poplar meadows, with the view of the castle 
of Loches ; but it is no longer unknown beauty 
here. Historical interest and the picturesque 
attract tourists and artists, and the law of cause 
and effect has given them a convenient railway 
from Tours. 

Jeanne d'Arc doubtless left Loches on the right 
hand, and pressed onwards towards Chinon ; but 
she must have gazed up with even keener interest 



THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE. 91 

tlian do the artists at the terribly beautiful group 
of towers and gates and lofty walls. Her king 
loved the place. Its towers were not yet imbrued 
with the crimes of Louis Onze. These and the 
tales of Agnes Sorel and her too tender heart 
were of a later day. She lived, and was beau- 
tiful, but the world knew little of her yet. 
Jeanne d'Arc was born in 1412, Ames Sorel in 
1400. It is said Charles never saw Agnes till 
1431, after the death of Jeanne d'Arc, though 
this appears doubtful. 

Loches will be more particularized by-and-by 
when Jeanne comes to stay in the town ; at 
present we will pass it by with merely an up- 
ward glance as Jeanne d'Arc did, yet hoping to 
see it more nearly, for Loches is all over pic- 
turesque charms within and without the fortress 
walls. It is well seen from the opposite side of 
the Indre, where nightingales and frogs formerly 
gave the concert that is now replaced by the 
modern music of the military band and the 
railway whistle. 

Even Jeanne must have drawn bridle a moment 
to view the scene before crossing the ' amber 
meadow.' It glows with the intense yellow formed 
by afternoon sunshine upon kingcups, marsh 
marigolds, and waterflags. Beyond this, coming 
from the Beaulieu road, lies a belt of purple 
hills, on the nearest of which rise the tall square 
donjon of Loches Castle and the two octagonal 
stone spires of the church of St. Ours, above a 
portcullised gateway. Below these lie the woods 



92 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

and the marsh with tall poplars standing black 
as^ainst the sinkino; sun. 

Jeanne and her party hastened on ; it was not 
wholesome to halt for the night in these low- 
lying meadows, they would find drier lodging 
among the tufa crags of the further slopes rising 
still westward. There is a tradition of bandits 
wishing to attack and rob her party somewhere 
hereabout (some authors say at L'lle Bouchard), 
near the journe3^'s end. It is hinted that La 
Tremouille, Charles's chief adviser, Avas a party 
to the affair, as he was jealous of every rising 
influence. If so, he would have done the work 
more effectually. I acquit him of this ; he has 
enough to answer for. 



93 



CHAPTER VI. 

AKRIVAL AT CHINON. 

* Je te dis de la part de Messire que tu es vray heritier de France 
et fils du Roy.' (' 1 tell thee on the part of our Lord that thou art 
the true inheritor of France and son of the king.') 

Jeanne dArc to Charles the Dauphin. 

The court was not at Loches. The dauphin often 
resided there, and might have been there now, as 
there was no daily court circular published all 
over the country to inform everybody of the 
royal movements. It was worth while passing 
near Loches to see if the royal standard were 
raised on the castle, even if it had not lain 
directly on the road to Chinon. Taking the 
right path instead of the left at the forest of 
Manthelau, Jeanne's little escort pressed on by 
Avay of Villeperdue, a village too small to be 
marked on most maps, but where there is a road- 
side railway station on the way to Ste. Maure 
on the new line by Port-de-Piles from Tours. 
The present communal road leads from Loches 
north-westward by Dolus, Tauxigny on the 
Echaudon, the large villages of Branchs and 
Sorigny, striking south-westward to Villeperdue, 
and again south Avard to Ste. Katherine dcFierbois. 



94 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

Though now truly answering to its name, 
Villeperdue, the lost town, this place has its 
oral history. It was the site of a famous Ro- 
man villa formerly, called Villa Peurera— at 
least so the good nuns, the sisters of the ham- 
let, spell it, and they are the guardians of all 
knowledo^e that is not lods^ed in the cure. In 
its ruins, or on its site, were built the prisons 
of the Mussulmans ; for this country was over- 
run by the Moors, before they were beaten by 
Charles Martel on the plains near by. It be- 
longed to the Duke of Anjou, so they say ; but 
one cannot find out which line of Anjou, nor if 
it was Plantagenet land. 

Did Jeanne see it as I see it now, arriving at the 
village while the moon was early in the blue sky, 
a cusped streak of gold, a broken ring ? Did she 
see the fruit-trees, farms, and golden pastures, 
and hear the doves cooing, wild birds trilling, 
and men rejoicing in this ' pays de rire et de rien 
faire ' ? Nature was then as copious as now, we 
have not added one to her inventions. It is said 
of this rich Touraine that ' Nature does everything 
in this country, and man does nothing.' It is less 
clean and inviting than Normandy, it is also 
more primitive ; that is, it carries one back to the 
middle-ages better. 

It is a pleasant ride among fields of clover and 
buttercups ' growing lush in juicy stalks,' mea- 
dows watered by the Manse, across which is a via- 
duct of fifteen arches at Villeperdue, and on 
through winding parish Innes, shaded by occasional 



ARRIVAL AT CHINON 95 

avenues of oak to Ste. Katherine de Fierbois. 
Murray calls it a mile or two, which is an error. 
It is a good six kilometres, and one has no choice 
but to walk the distance, which Joanne's guide- 
book asserts is nine kilometres. Murray says 
there is an omnibus from Villeperdue to St. 
Katherine. This is the most considerable error of 
the three : there is really no more omnibus than 
there was in Jeanne d' Arc's day. 

The road passes between the poor little church 
of Villeperdue, sliced off at the gable and with a 
penthouse western porch, and the chateau of Bois- 
bera, a perfect moated grange, with four round 
turrets and a full, square moat, with boat and draw- 
bridges complete, and frogs croaking and leaping 
out of the forget-me-nots into the yelloAv iris tufts. 

Further on, in a pool of yellow water-lilies and 
tall bulrush stems, where blue dragon-flies skim the 
sunny water, and much life is skippant and jump- 
ant, the frogs are thick as leaves in Vallombrosa. 
They look like leaves until they splash and leap ; 
then these green and yellow caperers look up at 
you and swell, and add their bass to the shrill 
orchestra of grasshoppers, those violins of the 
fields. The land all round is a well-wooded plain. 

The light, delicate spire visible to the left is 
that of Ste. Katherine de Fierbois, where Jeanne 
found her famous sword, usually termed ' I'epee 
miraculeuse.' It was the ao^e of leo-ends of mar- 
vellous swords, they fitted well into chivalric 
poems. With the winding of the road the spire 
next appears on the right : it looks prettier than 



96 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

the church towers we have latterly seen ; for the 
churches since Beaulieu have been architecturally 
insignificant, with plain, low, square towers, and 
funnel-shaped slate spires. Hereabouts the Moor 
was stayed by Charles Martel ; here came Jeanne 
d'Arc. No one comes here now ; it has no special 
attraction of scenery. Yet it is a pleasant land 
and a goodly. Historians following each other 
speak of Ste. Katherine as a famous pilgrimage. 
It is called a pilgrimage now in Joanne's guide-book, 
yet it is not famous, or at least, not frequented. 

Doubtless Jeanne chose to halt here and wait 
for the return of her messenger to the dauphin, 
because the village bore the name of St. Katherine, 
her patroness. 

Colet de Vienne, the king's messenger, rode 
forward with a letter, in which Jeanne asked per- 
mission to seek the dauphin at Chinon, and detail- 
ed to him her mission, a letter which threw 
Charles and his court into a great state of agita- 
tion and confliction. Jeanne meanwhile halted 
on Friday night, and stayed all through Saturday, 
the 5th of March, at Ste. Katherine, her soul 
thirsting for God's comfort. The name seemed to 
bring her so near the presence of her Voices : that 
music which cheered her and made her for- 
get her fatigues. She attended divine service 
three times on the same day. This implies a 
day's halt, for consideration, doubtless, and the 
preparation of her letter, as well as for the 
despatch of the courier to Chinon, at twenty 
miles distant, and his return, which could not in 



ARRIVAL AT CHIN ON. 97 

any case be before Saturday evening. They had 

also to rest the tired horses. 

From Yaucouleurs to Ste. Katherine is two 

hundred and seventy-seven miles direct as the 

crow flies, measured according to the scale of the 

map, without allowance for hills or obstructions. 

Wednesday, Feb. 23th. — Vaucouleurs to St. Ur- 
bain, twenty-eight miles. 

Thursday, Feb. 24th. — St. Urbain to Bar-sur- 
Aube, twenty-eight miles. 

Friday, Feb. 25th. — Bar-sur-Aube to Bar-sur- 
Seine. (Bar-sur-Aube to Auxerre is sixty- 
two miles direct, map measurement.) 

Saturday, Feb. 26th. — Bar-sur-Seine to Chaource, 
on the road to Auxerre. 

Sunday, Feb. 27th. — Halt of half-a-clay at Aux- 
erre ; they rode on towards Gien. 

Monday, Feb. 28th. — Gien, by the Bleneau or 
Toucy road ? (Auxerre to Gien is forty -four 
miles direct.) 

Tuesday, March 1st. — Crossed the Loire, took the 
road by the Sauldre river by Salbris. 

Wednesday, March 2nd. — Salbris to Romorantin. 
(Gien to Romorantin is fifty miles.) 

Thursday, March 3rd. — Passed Selles-sur-Cher and 
St. Aignan. 

Friday, March 4th. — Passed Loches and arrived at 
Ste. Katherine de Fierbois. 

Saturday, March 5th. — Rested at Ste. Katherine. 
(Romorantin to Ste. Katherine is sixty miles 
direct, it is more by the communal roads.) 

Sunday, March 6th. — Rode to Chinon. 

H 



98 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

These distances are measured to the entrance of 
each town ; one must reckon about a mile for the 
breadth of the towns. (The kilometre-stones 
always reckon distances from the ' Place ' or centre 
of the town.) This is averaging over thirty miles 
a day as the crow flies. Of course much allow- 
ance must be made for obstructions on the route, 
hills, forests, watercourses, rivers, and necessary 
deviations. This on good modern roads would 
bring it to at least five miles a day more. In the 
tracks of that time the calculation should be 
greater. Three hundred and thirty miles is a 
moderate computation of the actual distance. 
Truly the horses would need rest. According to 
Jeanne's guide, Jean de Novelonpont (cle Metz), 
they had made in eleven days one hundred and 
fifty leagues, approximately, or indeed well-nigh 
exactly so according to my calculation, remember- 
ing that the French league is 2*72'^ English statute 
miles. 

^ But the souvenirs of Novelonpont,' Henry 
Martin says, 'are not exact (fideles), the journey 
lasted twenty days.' Martin gives no data for 
this, and I should like to know a better authority 
for the length of the journey than he who made it. 

' L'avant-dernier continuateur de Guillaume de 
Nangis ' ^ gives the date of the 6th of March for 
Jeanne's arrival at Chin on, calling it the day 
following her arrival at Ste. Katherine. This 
might be so, supposing she arrived at early 
morning at Ste. Katherine ; but we know she 

* 'Proces,'t. iv., p. 303. 



ARPdVAL AT CHIN ON. 99 

spent the whole day there, and heard mass three 
times. 

Leaving Vaucoiileurs on February 23rd, and 
arriving at Chinon on the 6th of March, as seems 
to be certain, she must have arrived at Ste. 
Katherine on the evening of the 4th of March, or, 
at the very latest, the early morning of the 5th, 
as we must allow for her courier's return from 
Chinon with the answer to her letter, even sup- 
posing it to be answered without delay, since one 
cannot reckon it at less than a day's hard riding 
from Ste. Katherine to Chinon and back ; with a 
fresh horse for the return journey. And this 
corresponds with the eleven days of Jean de Metz. 
An eleven days' ride through a disturbed country 
at a time when its roads, such as they were in 
those days, were at their worst, the frost thaAved 
and the paths not yet dried by the sun and wind 
of March, was no small feat for a peasant girl Avho 
had never been used to horseback. In all this 
long ride Jeanne showed a firm fearlessness which 
gave her companions confidence. They traversed 
the several provinces unimpeded, as if the country 
were at peace, without let or hindrance and with- 
out meeting any troops. Now they seemed at 
their journey's end, and now came the usual in- 
decision (though not on the part of Jeanne) about 
what to do when they arrived, which seems so 
small a point at the beginning of a long road. 
Then we think the thing is to reach the journey's 
end — andthatisall. Jeanie Deans found thedifficul- 

h2 



100 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC, 

ties after arrival the greatest, so did Jeanne d'Arc. ' 
One gets to know the country well in riding 
or in walking across it. It is a thin line 
that one walks through, but the eye covers an 
average range of twenty-five miles on either side, 
and the slowness of the pace leaves one time to 
observe it carefully. Tradition says the church 
of Ste. Katherine was founded by Charles Martel 
in the eighth century. It was rebuilt by Charles 
VII. and Louis XL The present church of Ste. 
Katherine de Fierbois is decorated Gothic of the 
flamboyant period, with what appears at a distance 
a bottle-shaped spire ; which is really a wooden 
steeple, with flying buttresses. It has crockets, 
finials, and an elaborate west front. All the 
portals are crocketed and pinnacled, and yet it is 
little more than an ordinary village church. It is 
very well taken care of, and sets a good example 
to country churchwardens. 

A tablet relates how the vaulted roof of the 
chapel in the southern aisle, having been totally 
destroyed by the fall of its surmounting gable, 
the workmen of the parish, responding to the 
appeal of their pastor, Monsieur I'Abbe Maubois, 
gratuitously restored this roof, for which the 
materials were given by the Marquis de Lussac. 
This work was done with so much zeal that it was 
executed in the eight days preceding the feast of 
Christmas, 1858. 

A modern painted window in this aisle re- 
presents St. Katherine, and beneath her picture 
one of the vision appearing to Jeanne d'Arc, with 



ARRIVAL AT CHIN ON. 101 

the inscription : ' Ici Jeanne d'Arc fit prendre son 
epee en 1429 pour sauver la France. Souvenir du 
10 Mai, 1879.'^' Here was found the famous sword 
' marked with five crosses, lying in a vault,' which 
Jeanne d'Arc sent for before she went to raise 
the siege of Orleans. It was found behind, or 
within, the tomb said to be that of Charles 
Martel. Though legend has gathered round this 
sword, yet Jeanne is not responsible for that. 
The sword might easily have been seen by her 
during the day she spent in the church : or she 
may possibly not have seen the sword, but priests 
at Ste. Katherine may have told her of it. The 
tomb and the supposed position of the sword were 
where the present high altar stands. The whole 
church has a vaulted roof of white stone. The 
holy water stoup is of an early period. It is a 
deep oval stone dish set on a low, round pillar. 
There is no statue of Jeanne here nor in the vil- 
lage. A cross stands in the ' place ' in front of 
the church. The w^hiteness of the stone gives a 
brand-new appearance to all buildings hereabout. 
A new-looking house near the church is really a 
very old one. It has a crocketed portal with 
wyverns, shields, and other decorations, some of 
which have been carefully restored in the original 
style. Little is to be learnt from the people here 
concerning Jeanne d'Arc. Nobody seems able to 
understand why anyone should come to Ste. 
Katherine. The good souls evidently have no 
idea of tourists or pilgrims* An intelligent lad of 

* ' Here Jeanne cVArc took her sword in 1429 in order to fcave France.' 



102 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

seventeen, from whom I inquired the way out of 
Ste. Katherine, wondered who on earth could have 
directed me from Tours to Chinon by way of 
Villeperdue and Ste. Katherine ! He considered it 
an immense loss of time and money. Had he 
known all, he would have thought me mad. 

There is no carriage, neither horse nor cart for 
hire at the ' Jeanne d'Arc ' inn, whose walls are 
hung with such flaring prints of the heroine that 
it is no wonder they do not venerate her here. 
The crockery also depicts the story of Jeanne 
d'Arc, and how she hewed the English army in 
pieces at the battle of Patay. It seems as if 
Jeanne d'Arc and ourselves were the only 
strangers who had ever found their way to Ste. 
Katherine. We must walk on to Ste. Maure. 

The place abounds chiefly in deficiencies ; no 
omelette — they are saving all the eggs hereabout 
for sitting : no post-cards — they are out of them, 
as they are out of most things at the general 
shop : no cure — he had gone to Tours to meet the 
archbishop — indeed, we met him driving a dog- 
cart at a good pace upon our road : no conveni- 
ence for washing, so we went outside and pumped 
upon our hands. But pilgrimage has its allevia- 
tions ; they have andouilles, for those who are 
able to eat them, and the white wine of the coun- 
try is refreshing and pleasant. 

We sat on a well under a willow at the cross 
roads till some one should pass of whom we might 
ask the way to Ste. Maure ; but everyone was at 
siesta. To the left of the straight, scorching high 



ARRIVAL AT CHINON. 103 

road is the Chateau de Comarque, of which the 
photographs bear an inscription, remarkable for 
its inexactitude : 'Chateau Comacre (or Comarque) 
near Ste. Maure, belonging to Monsieur le Marquis 
de Lussac, remarkable for the chapel of St. Cath. 
de Fierbois, where Jeanne d'Arc went to seek 
the sword which Avas deposited on the tomb of 
Charles Martel, in order to lay siege to Orleans.' 

This is liable to mislead a pilgrim to suppose 
that the chapel of the sword is in the Chateau de 
Comarque, a modern Gothic chateau, built in 
1850. The traditions concerning Jeanne d'Arc 
are as vague and inaccurate as those connected 
with Charles Martel. The unsophisticated people 
have not localised the sites ; thus the spot where 
Charles slew Abderahmen is waved to as every- 
where within twenty kilometres, at an angle under 
180*^ of horizon. At least, one is not disturbed 
by the fictions and vulgarisms that crowd round 
more sacred localities in the Holy Land. 

The supposed ambush laid for Jeanne as a test 
of her mission has been located between this place 
and LTle Bouchard. I re2:ard this ambush as a 
myth. 

Later on we found a turfy bank in the fretted 
shadows of some pollard willows, growing deep in 
grass in undulating ground, near a sort of viaduct, 
or bridge, over a poplar dell. Here we rested, look- 
ing up at the intense blue zenith, sung to by the 
birds and played to by the aBolian harp in the 
poplar-trees. 

But Jeanne was no longer weary here ; she had 



104 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

just been sent for by the king ; her hope had cul- 
minated in fulfihnent. A determined will carries 
victory with it. Thus Jeanne came from Vaucou- 
leurs. The first stage of her mission was achieved. 
Now came the tests of truth ; and the task of con- 
quering Charles's dread of ridicule. In one sense 
ridicule is the test of truth : truth meets with 
ridicule and vanquishes it, with the hammer-logic 
of an accomplished fact. As it was in the days of 
Noah, so it always . is in the outset of any high 
promise, any great truth. It is only falsehood 
that is run after by the multitude. 

It is six kilometres to Ste. Maure, where there 
are conveyances to be had to the railways (some 
cross-lines are within reach of Ste. Maure by omni- 
bus), or to the Dolmen of Ste. Maure not far from 
Bommiers. From Ste. Maure to LTle Bouchard, 
still following Jeanne's route, it is a pleasant 
drive of about ten miles through undulating 
country of well- watered park-like scenery with 
golden-brown oak-trees, where chalk-burning is 
the principal industry besides agriculture. The 
river Vienne flowing through the valley, spread- 
ing here and there into the appearance of a lake, 
reflects the poplars on its banks. Oak-trees line 
the roads, and walnuts and other fruit-trees are 
numerous. The people go bare-foot ; wooden 
shoes are the luxurious exception ; yet they look 
well-fed, well-housed, and well-to-do. 

LTle Bouchard has a double bridge over the 
Vienne, which here forms an island. The town was 
doubtless in former days nothing but a fortified 



ARRIVAL AT CHINON. 105 

island. The walls have only been partially de- 
stroyed, and there are the ruins of a castle. It 
is an old-world place, with winding streets just 
wide enouo:h to admit a carriao^e between the 
house-fronts. There are few foot-paths. The in- 
teresting church, always the apex of the people's 
culture, has a flamboyant hexagonal tower, a 
crocketed stone spire, and elaborate romanesque 
doorways. The chancel is early-pointed. 

Here one can take the train to Chin on, but it 
is not too far for a drive. Jeanne d'Arc perhaps 
thought it an easy day's journey from St. Kathe- 
rine to Chinon, but it is the very utmost if her 
courier could have ofone and returned in the same 
day with her letter. He must have started at 
daybreak. 

There is a delightful old cruciform romanesque 
church between I'lle Bouchard and Sazilly. 
The Villa Anceiensi of the Latin records of Jeanne's 
trials, where her mother is said to have lived 
during the proces of her rehabilitation, was Anche, 
a village between Chinon and I'lle Bouchard. The 
approach to Chinon is not imposing ; the castle 
does not look so high-seated as it really is. 

Jeanne was at length at Chinon. The king 
was at his last gasp : drowning, he clung to a 
straw. Still, for fear of ridicule, that terror of 
Aveak minds, he dreaded to receive her whom the 
enthusiastic common people reckoned as an angel. 
Truly she was to him an angel, the messenger sent 
from heaven to serve him in his dire need. But 
could God really have sent him such a simple instru- 



106 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

ment, a mere shepherdess, who could not read or 
write, nor speak the French language correctly? 
He would have had more faith in the magical sword 
of Fierbois, and far more in a chest of treasure. 

Jeanne could speak to the point ; she had in- 
telligence equal to her courage, and she Avas being 
educated all this while. Jeanne saw the world ; 
this was her university, the different grades of 
society she mingled with, the different ^forms' of 
her school. Fear of the Lord had given her prin- 
ciples, a happy home-life had established them in 
love, like apples of gold set in pictures of silver. 
Law she learnt first at Toul, then at Poitiers, last at 
Rouen. Manners she learnt in courts ; she also 
learnt to loathe their vacillation and their faith- 
lessness, first at Nancy, then at Chinon, then at 
Saint Denis. Against law, courts, and treachery 
were her hardest battles. Actual combat was 
easier. She was a being d'elite ; acting of her 
own free will, Jeanne gave herself into the hands 
of God, eager to do His will, patient while He 
should bring it to pass, knowing that the wrath 
(or hurry) of man worketh not the righteousness 
of God. 

Two days more to wait, while the court was 
deliberating or disputing whether she should be 
seen by Charles or not. It was the last hope of 
the people of Orleans ; their deputies were at 
Chinon awaitinsr the kino:'s decision. Ecclesiastics 
and others came to examine her, but she would 
only deliver her actual message to the king him- 
self Jeanne carried a letter — cold enough, doubt- 



ARRIVAL AT CHINON. 107 

less — from the governor of Vaucouleurs, and, 
better than this, the warm witness of the com- 
panions of her journey, who averred themselves 
more fully settled in their belief in her mission 
since their more intimate knowledge of her 
character. 

Where was she all this time, since she was not 
admitted into the actual castle of Chinon ? Most 
writers, led by Berriat Saint Prix, sjDcak of her 
being detained in the Chateau de Coudrai, seven 
miles off. This is far to 2:0 for what is nearer at 
hand. Within the walls of the fortress, though 
apart from the castle itself, is a strong, habitable 
tower called the Tour de Coudrai, where tradition 
has always said that Jeanne was kept safe, but 
hidden, until the time she was admitted to see 
the king. This is one of the mistakes that are at 
once cleared up to the satisfaction of one's mind 
at the sight of the places. Seven miles off is too 
far and too inconvenient for the hourly messages 
and conversations that are implied in the history 
of these two days. 

The way up to the castle from the town is by 
a sort of paved gutter rather than a lane, then up 
a good many steps, where there are dwellings in 
the thickness of the old walls ; poor people have 
burrowed here, as all through this province they 
are used to the idea of excavatino; dwellino^s in 
the calcareous tufa. 

There is a fine view of the winding river Vienne 
and the surrounding landscape from the bridge 
leading across to the donjon. Many of these 



108 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

castles near the Loire are magnificently situated ; 
their windows command views which show fine 
taste on the part of the monarchs who loved these 
residences. Chin on was a favourite abode of our 
Henry TL and Coeur de Lion. Both their tombs 
are near by at Fontevrault. 

A portcullis entrance admits one to a garden of 
red roses within the loop-holed walls. The view 
traced from left to right includes a twin-towered 
church, the town seated on its islands, with a sus- 
pension-bridge and a double stone bridge over the 
two branches of the river. A romanesque church, 
with a stone spire, lies immediately below the 
castle, which is surrounded by the townspeoples' 
gardens lying deep below the walls. The castle is 
built of the abundant w^hite stone of the country, 
like everything else ; even the cottages are built 
of this fair, hewn stone. This whiteness makes 
the ruins appear more ghostly, especially by 
moonlight, though it detracts from their pictur- 
esqueness by day. 

One is mercifully allowed to wander about 
alone in the labyrinth of these grass-grown walls, 
thick with poppies and bugloss, wild oats and 
mignonette, ^ creatures whose ofiice it is to abate 
the grief of ruin by their gentleness.' 

The former royal apartments are comprised in 
theprincipalmass of the ruins. Though nowno floors 
remain, nothing but ih^ grass-grown ground, some- 
times paved, sometimes cellared with dungeons, 
one can trace on the walls of the first floor as it was 
formerly, the deeply embrasured fireplace, with 



ARBIVAL AT CHTNON. 109 

columned chimney-breast, of the room where, as 
the tablet says, Jeanne d'Arc came to recognise 
Charles VIL, and another plainer fireplace below 
this and slightly to the right, which warmed the 
room beneath. The joist holes are also visible. 
The lower room has a narrow window overlookinsr 
the river, skewed into the thickness of the wall. 

Some of the other rooms are less ruinous than 
these, and still retain their pleasant splayed win- 
dow-seats, and the transoms, and sometimes the 
whole ' croisee ' of their windows. The fireplace 
in the third room is the most perfect, showing 
remains of sculpture on the columns of the chim- 
ney-piece ; a fourth room closes the series ; beyond 
this is a tower- stair and a yawning depth between 
the dwelling-house, or palace, and an external 
tower. A large wild-rose-tree grows in a corner 
of this fourth room and a narrow staircase leads 
down to — one shudders to think where. 

Yonder, from a cliff-like tower, the breeze is 

' wafting wall-fiower scents, 
From out the crumbling ruins of fallen pride, 
And chambers of transgression, now forlorn.' 

Out in the garden, or yard, across a bridge over 
a moat in which grow lofty walnut-trees, elder, 
nettles, and ivy-masses, are two round towers, one 
perfect in its battlements and machicolations, with 
a vaulted roof, like a chapel; the other more 
ruinous, and grass-grown on the top. A garden 
of pink roses, with a grass-plot sprinkled with 
peonies and poppies, sheltered by an arbor-vitae 
hedge, leads to a further tower and more remains 



110 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ABC. 

of the castle wall. There is a lovely view from 
this more distant tower, the Tour du Moulin, the 
oldest part of the castle, built by the Normans. It 
has a lofty, hexagonal vaulted roof and three 
arched loopholes, besides the window and the 
door. Above this vaulted room are gutters for 
pouring down lead upon assailants. The well 
appears to be still in use. 

Chinon is as finely situated as Amboise : both 
were French kings' favourite castles overlooking 
towns built on islands of a river ; but how differ- 
ent their story — one is a ruined Windsor, over- 
grown with weeds, the other is now a small 
modern chateau with a paradise of a garden. 

Another tower contains the chapel of St. Martin, 
where Jeanne d'Arc retired to pray on the even- 
ing of the 8th of March, 1429, after she had had 
audience of the king. So says a tablet. Another 
wooden tablet hanging at the door of the Tour du 
Coudrai marks that it was inhabited by Jeanne 
d'Arc from the time of her presentation to King 
Charles VII. on the 8th of March, 1429, until the 
20th of April, the date of her departure for Tours 
and Orleans. A statement full of inaccuracies, as 
is the way of such inscriptions, but yet a far 
more likely story than that she was sent to 
Chateau Coudrai seven miles off. This is more 
consistent with the fact of audiences with her by 
Charles's suite. It was outside the royal residence, 
beyond the bridge and yet within the fortress, a 
lofty round tower above the inner moat. Acacias 
and other trees surround the Tower of Coudray 



ARRIVAL AT CHINON. Ill 

on the garden side, and honeysuckle, beautiful 
but scentless, clings about it. 

The oblong portcullis tower of entrance to the 
ruins has its machicolations perfect, each one 
hollow and headed by a trefoil. This gateway is 
of later date than the rest of the castle. Murray 
calls it the donjon : here they call it the Tour de 
I'Horloge. It was built by Charles VII., at that 
later date when, thanks to Jeanne d'Arc, he was 
enabled to build. It commands fine views of land 
and river. It is inhabited by the guardian of the 
ruins and his family. One can mount the steep 
winding stair to the top and walk round this lofty 
tower outside. The machicolation holes, barred 
over by iron, command the approaches ; on every 
side stones, arrows, or melted lead could be rained 
upon assailants. Its top stones are firmly iron- 
clasped together. From this height the garden 
and weedy courtyards of the castle look almost 
like a forest. The donjon is in itself a highly 
picturesque object, with its gable roof and two 
pointed spires, one of them a slate spire, the other 
an umbrella roof with weather- cocks, and stone 
chimneys of quaint fashion built between them. 

At length Jeanne was introduced to the castle 
by the Count of Vendome, and brought before 
Charles, this reckless inheritor of a glorious past. 
She recognised the king at once ; she saw through 
the simple trick of a frivolous disguise. No child's 
play could deceive the clear eyes of one who was 
so in earnest. She could read features, and had 
often heard the king described. What were trifling 



112 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

diiFerences of dress, or ornament, or of position in 
the room to her, who knew nothing about such 
things ? She was sent there to work, to save 
France ; the God in whom she trusted could lead 
her straight to him to whom she was sent. 

' God give you good life, fair dauphin,' or fair 
king, for it seems uncertain which title she used 
on this occasion, though otherwise she never ad- 
dressed Charles as king until after his coronation. 
Indeed, although he had already been king for 
seven years, since 1422, he is called indiscrimi- 
nately king or dauphin by all historians, notwith- 
standing that Louis, his son, was actually dauphin ; 
such stress was laid by contemporaries on the 
sanctity of the coronation and anointing. 

Jeanne at once entered upon the subject of her 
mission — the four charges, or burdens (quatuor 
onera) laid upon her : 1, to raise the siege of 
Orleans ; 2, to cause the king to be crowned and 
anointed ; 3, to drive out the English (from the 
whole of France ?) ; 4, to deliver the Duke of 
Orleans from the hands of the English. This 
captive prince, taken at Agincourt, had become 
for Jeanne a personification of the nation, like 
Charles VII. himself. The poet Duke of Orleans, 
ungrateful as Charles himself, has not dedicated 
a single verse to the memory of Jeanne d'Arc. 
The king was convinced of the truth of her mis- 
sion after some private talk with her — at least, he 
professed himself to be so. Jeanne was cheered. 
Her king was another St. Michael to her, a pro- 
sopopoeia of her own enthusiastic love. 



ARRIVAL AT CHINON. 113 

' Ah ! fallacies of youth's first flower, 
When all seems bright and good.' 

Among the nobles round was the young Duke 
of Alen9on, who lived in the neighbourhood at 
St. Florent-les-Saumur. The king named him to 
Jeanne. 

' Be welcome,' she said ; ' more there are to- 
gether of the royal blood of France, the better it 
wdll be.' 

It was a bewildering sight to the humble Lor- 
rainaise to see these gay and jewelled darlings of 
a court, so young, so reckless, and so frolicsome, 
presenting in the varied costume of their office 
much the aspect of a fancy ball — priests, and the 
chancellor in robes of peace ; knights and youthful 
nobles wdth the colours of their ladies ; courtiers 
with what Froissart calls ' hattes of biever and 
eustrydes fethers ;' and the poet Alain Chartier, 
the king's secretary, author of ' La Belle Dame 
sans mercy,' with his sugar-loaf hat hung by rib- 
bons at his back. Add to these the train of ladies 
in the suite of the queen-dowager of Sicily, mother 
of the queen, Mary of Anjou, (' a princess of great 
merit and prudence,' who does not appear to have 
been there,) and Jeanne might well be dazzled. 
Yet her head was not turned ; she was self-pos- 
sessed and outwardly calm, very simple and speak- 
ing little ('moult simple et peu parlant ') ; but when 
she spoke her words were worthy of record. She 
Avas more remarkable to these people than they to her. 

Great personages came to see her in the Tower of 
Coudray, and she showed good countenance before 



lU FOOTSTEPS 0I< JEANNE TfARC. 

them; but when she was alone she wept andprayed. 
She yielded to grief, being too simple to deny pain. 

Emotional persons — those who have thesensitive 
fibre of genius — in youth have their tears very near 
their eyes. Jeanne had this sensitive temperament, 
and she was only seventeen. She was high-strung 
and set to brilliant music; the tension once relaxed, 
the tones resounded in a melancholy minor. She 
was alone, too, in the midst of a strange life, dif- 
ferent in her dress, her origin, her habits from 
everyone about her ; watched with jealousy and 
curiosity, like an actress or an object in a show ; 
thronged by people who had no earnestness, no 
heroism in their hearts ; headed by a prince who 
was at best but another Second Charles Stuart, king 
of England, willing to let anyone who would toil 
for him, while he would only enter into their la- 
bours. ' L'initiative appartient toujours a quel- 
qu'un.' That one was never Charles the dauphin, 
the natural leader. One wonders how Jeanne en- 
dured him for a day ; but the reverential nature 
does not willingly see blemishes in its idol. He 
represented every principle of right for her, and 
perhaps, too, the strong nature unconsciously 
pitied and yearned over the weaker one. 

Jeanne was a true Frenchwoman, essentially a 
Frenchwoman in her brightness, sense, taste 
(this is implied from old writings), vivacity 
of speech, and, above all, in her affections. 
This natural affection is pre-eminent among 
the French ; it is this most of all that makes them 
bad colonists : they leave their heart behind them. 



ARRIVAL AT CHINON. 115 

The Germans weep, but they go ; we, too, go out 
into the world, but wq do not weep. The bravest 
of the French have not strength voluntarily to 
quit their own people and their father's house. 

They are right, no prospective good compen- 
sates for the sundering of all natural ties. That 
fine and picturesque young man, Alphonse Pou- 
lard, fisherman and baker of Mont St. Michel, 
was right when he told me, ^Non, je ne voudrais 
pas quitter ma patrie pour devenir riche autre 
part.' He spoke the French mind. It is not the 
best of the French nation whom we find cruising 
about the world. 

It was this loneliness that made Jeanne's heart to 
ache amid all her glory. Yet Jeanne had sources of 
happiness that none around her understood, the 
companionship of her Voices, and the j oy of supreme- 
ly loving God. Her manners were necessarily good, 
lacing free and simple ; as Burton, the Eastern 
traveller, says, ' vulgarity and affectation, awk- 
wardness and embarrassment, are weeds of civil- 
ized growth, unknown to the people of the desert,' 
so they were to this peasant maiden. Although 
a peasant, Jeanne was a being all poetry, the 
heroic poetry of action. For me I dare not write 
her history in prose, I can only rub in the back- 
ground. A Homer might approach the theme in 
lofty verse. Poetry, in life, does not usually sur- 
vive a certain amount of civilization nor wealth. 
Madame de Stael says truly, the lower orders are 
much nearer being poets than the people of good 
society, for, as she goes on to say still more philo- 

I 2 



116 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

sophically, ' Conventionality and persiflage are 
only of use to serve as fences (bounds), they can 
inspire nothing. The tone of society is favourable 
to the poetry of grace and gaiety, but let a being 
of superior order step in and the poet at once 
feels a want of harinoay in the tAvo creations,' one 
feels as if the lighter things must be swept away 
before the coming of a ruler. So Alain Chartier 
seems to have felt toAvards Jeanne ; he, the poet, 
could feel that here was another type from theirs. 
' The large and clear conception, the breadth of 
view, the passion held in leash, the tremulously 
earnest tone, the utter forgetfulness of self ' of acon- 
quering reformer were imaged in this young girl 
of majestic stature, but Avith still childish features 
and delicate bloom. History describes her as 
having had eyes of that uncertain colour between 
brown and green Avhich are ahvays so expressive 
and so melting ; broAvn, finely-draAvn eyebroAVS, and 
plentiful chestnut hair, cut round in equal length 
to the top of the neck ; a sweet smile, a av ell-formed 
nose, delicate vermilion lips, the hollow between 
the loAver lip and chin deeply marked, and the 
chin rather pointed. She had a fine contour of 
face, and a fair, Avhite neck ; a candid expression 
of angelic purity, Avith a tinge of melancholy. She 
had long taper fingers and nervous hands, Avell- 
formed, but thin rather than rounded. Her 
countryAvoman speaks of her as ' having only the 
strength that comes from on high : inspired by 
religion, a poet in her actions, a poet also in her 
Avords AA^hen the Divine spirit animates them ; 



ARRIVAL AT CHINON. 117 

showing sometimes in her speech an admirable 
genius, sometimes an absolute ignorance of all 
which heaven has not revealed to her.' Madame de 
Stael knew Jeanne chiefly through the unnaturally 
coloured medium of Schiller. The only histories 
she could have read were Lenglet du Fresnoy's, 
which L'Averdy justly declares is tres mediocre^ 
and L'Averdy's compilation of old MS. which 
Lenglet de Fresnoy as truly calls tres precieux. 

We, whose Christianity is so much an effort of 
the intellect or of custom, cannot conceive the 
fervour of the lower classes whose hope, love, and 
expansion it was in the middle-ages, before print- 
ing had rendered other forms of soul-growth 
possible. The Rev. C. J. Robertson speaks of 
this as ' religious emotion, in which thought and 
logic are all but consumed in love.' 

The inspired one has more, not less, native 
sense than others. The faculties of more clearly 
perceiving, and obediently listening to, the high- 
est voice ; the world, which runs after all manner 
of thought-reading, spirit-rapping, or mere un- 
belief, chooses to call this reverent spirit — mania. 

Charles's court, occupied with making the most 
of their youth-time, with the dalliance of love and 
what ill-fortune had left them of the joys of life, felt 
humbled by this stern young follower of duty, who, 
while filled with enthusiasm, retained the innocent 
purity and sweet thoughts of earliest youth. Be- 
fore this pure young Christian they were as Pagans 
lapped in sensual delights. Her overpowering 
influence was felt from the moment of her arrival 



118 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

upon the scene, a weight to some, an uplifting to 
others. 

It was a god-like power and mastery which they 
could not choose but feel. At once historical and 
marvellous, the character and deeds of Jeanne 
stand out like fragments of Homeric tale. As in 
Homer, there are words and touches in the old 
chronicles of her life which give us the heroine in 
her image as she stood with a vividness which none 
of our modern lens-painting can achieve ; crystal- 
lized — finished as an anthem by Mozart ; and 
there is a spiritual side to her history which 
makes us hardly able to realize that these things 
occurred so late in recorded circumstance, so near 
to our own day : the age of divine mysteries being 
— as most people think — over. Noble ideas still lived 
in France, and were respected, but they were not 
practised, at any rate not by those whose highest 
use in life is the wide example their high position 
enables them to show. The glamour of sweetness 
that rests like the Aving of a pardoning angel on the 
memory of Agnes Sorel is as firelight unto sun- 
light near the pure fervour of Jeanne d'Arc. Most 
people think of them together. When we men- 
tally run over the history of France in the 
fifteenth century, it is not the kings and states- 
men whom the memory calls up ; it is the women. 
It is Katherine the Fair, foolish and feeble, the 
common man's feminine ideal ; Isabeau, the in- 
famous ; Agnes Sorel, the beautiful and high- 
spirited, beneficent and tender-hearted, and 
Jeanne, the servant of the Most High. Even 



ARRIVAL AT CHINON. 119 

Dunois, oak of chivalry, comes after these, and 
Charles is well-nigh forgotten. He is only a 
stumbling-block. 

This picturesque figure in her male attire now 
occupied for over two weeks, from the 6th to the 
20th of March, the attention of the triflers and 
the hopes of the serious. Concerning her dress, 
the Archbishop of Embrun sensibly remarks, 
later, ' It is more decent to do these things in 
man's dress, since one is obli2:ed to do them 
among men.' Truly Jeanne was a wonderful 
person, yet — now rose the terrible doubt whether 
she might be a sorceress. 



BOOK 11. 

THE TRIUMPH. 



123 



CHAPTER VIL 

THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 

' En nom Dieu/ repliqua Jeanne, ' je ne suis pas venue a Poitiers 
pour faire signes ; mais menez-moi a Orleans, et je vous montrerai les 
signes pour quoi je suis envoy ee. Qu'on me donne si peu de gens 
qu'on voudra, j'irai a Orleans.' (' In God's name,' replied Jeanne, 
' I have not come to Poitiers to make signs ; but take me to Orleans, 
and I will show you the signs for which I am sent. Let them give 
me as few men as they will, I will go to Orleans.') 

From Chinon the maid was sent to Poitiers, at 
the end of March, for examination by the doctors 
of divinity and laws. She had been gaining 
ground all this time, practising herself in all the 
necessary warlike exercises in which she soon be- 
came skilful and graceful. 'Taught by the 
willing mind that what it well desires gains aptly.' 
She is said to have ridden at the quintain, and 
her skill on horseback caused the Duke of Alen- 
9on to give her a present of a fine horse. She 
also practised the use of the cross-bow and other 
weapons. These exercises braced her physical 
frame, and counteracted her excitable mental 
temperament and kept it balanced. Now she was 
thought worthy of a hearing. 

Oh, the relief of escape from a court and con- 



124 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

stant watching, to canter over the plains once 
more. These green plains of Ste. Maure, fairer 
than when she saw them last, these waving 
battle-fields of Saracens, under the caroub-trees 
and the blue sky. No wonder the Moors thought 
the climate would suit them, with its rich green, 
waving crops and cool shade, ' the food of vision,' 
as the Arabs call it. The country grows more 
decidedly southern in its character directly one 
crosses the bridge over the Vienne. Water- 
melons and great gourds and maize cover the 
ground Avith their quick growth, the shade of the 
walnut-trees is inky black in the dazzling white 
sunshine, and long bean-pods dangling from very 
large leaved trees give a juxta-tropical character 
to the vegetation. Two crops of hay and every 
other harvest come ofi* the ground, ploughed by 
the tawny oxen twice a year, and the leavings 
support a teeming life of black fowls, geese, 
and other small stock. The rich red-coloured 
gravel soil is watered by a cool green river, 
which the road follows on to ih^ foot of the steep 
hill leading up to the town of Poitiers. Here 
one enters by the Porte de Paris, near the ruins 
of the ancient chateau. 

It is fifty miles from Chinon to Poitiers ; a 
two days' ride for the more easy-going people 
who now accompanied Jeanne d'Arc; though 
her faithful friend, Jean de Metz, still remain- 
ed with her. They stayed at Chatellerault 
for the night, only next day following on the 
Vienne until it joins the valley of the Clain, 



THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 125 

whose rocky ravines are full of scenic beauty, 
of the kind that moderns admire, rather than 
did Jeanne d' A re's contemporaries ; to them ' the 
profit of our land must pass the beauty,' as 
old Chapman words Homer's meaning and" his 
own feeling. 

I know no town which so much reminds me 
of Jerusalem as Poitiers. The intense blue, 
burning sky, with a white heat round the sun ; 
the arid rocky nature of most of the surround- 
ing landscape, relieved by groves of verdure in 
the vales, and the keen air felt on the summit 
of the hill where the white stony town lies so 
closely packed. The sumptuous and peculiarly 
romanesque fa9ade of Notre Dame much resembles 
the church of the Holy Sepulchre ; and in both 
cities one soon gets the habit of examining every 
stone with interest ; unlike the inhabitants of 
both, who have ' inherited a long past without 
thinking of it.' For all these reasons it also 
resembles Toledo. Poitiers is eminently what 
George Eliot calls ^ one of those old, old towns 
which impress one as a continuation and out- 
growth of Nature.' A town familiar with for- 
gotten years, ' which carries the traces of its long 
growth and history like a millennial tree.' 

Jeanne may not have been to the Ecole de Droit, 
where our Bacon studied law, most of that buildino- 
is of later date ; but she must, during her stay, have 
seen the ancient curiosities of the place, for Poi- 
tiers is even now a museum of archaBolomcal his- 
tory, dating from pre-Christian Rome to Napoleon 



126 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

TIL, and the plain courtyard of the Law School 
holds an epitome of all this histoiy. 

Even now there are old capitals and sarcophagi 
strewn about the courtyard, in curious contrast 
with its trim central garden, full of asters. One 
of these stone coffins is shaped and hollowed for 
the head and shoulders of the corpse ; one is a 
very curious double tomb, the bodies lying fan- 
wise, in wedge-shaped coffins, side by side. The 
Musee lapidaire, of which these things are the 
unplaced debris, contains many Roman and Gallic 
remains ; one, an archaic female figure, holding 
an infant, inscribed ' Lepidava Lentise Reginiuxor 
lepidare gini hi pietati.' 

One cannot find much remaining of the Roman 
amphitheatre. 'Ah, madame ! il n'y a plus cles 
arenes ; on a tout demoli ; les locat aires ne 
voulaient pas que ca tombassent sur leurs tetes : 
c'est un quartier neuf.' And so it is ; the in- 
habitants, true to their habits of burrowing, have 
burroAved it down over their heads ; and the 
new stone, shaped by nature for building pur- 
poses, is as white as whitewash. 

One gets a peep of Roman work — a crumbling 
arch ; it is what remains of the arena. A petri- 
fied diorama, on Avhich are traced the shadows 
of the Roman, Moor, and GauL 'Helas tout!' 
they tell me, or nearly all, for by poking about, 
as only antiquarians care to do, one can discover 
more. There are four or five remaining arches 
of the Roman aqueduct still standing near the 
road to Angouleme. But the Christian antiquities 



THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 127 

are perhaps more abundant and more interesting 
than in any other French town. They dated 
from many centuries^ even in Jeanne's time. St. 
Pierre, the ancient cathedral, built probably on 
an earlier foundation by our Henry 11. , whose 
rich facade shows a o:ood deal of sixteenth cen- 
tury restoration (the date also of a tine brass- 
work canopy over the high altar), but where 
yon descend eight steps, marking eight centuries ; 
and Montiersneuf (in whose alleyed grove are 
ancient capitals for seats), where a Latin inscrip- 
tion tells us that, in 1086, Geoffroy, Duke of 
Aquitaine, this church's founder, died, and Pope 
Urban consecrated the high altar in 1096, long 
after its foundation. 

Older still is St. Hilaire, dated lOiO ; and most 
ancient of all is the baptistery of St. John, one 
of the earliest Christian monuments in France, 
dating at latest from the sixth or seventh cen- 
tury. Some place it even in the fifth century, 
and Joanne calls it of the fourth century ; and 
it looks as early. The wall-paintings of the in- 
terior are in the Byzantine style. It is about 
fifteen feet or so below the surface : the semi- 
domed stone roofs of the transepts just rise above 
the soil. These roofs are almost on a level Avith 
the eye, as one leans over the parapet of the 
surrounding area, and looks down upon the half- 
buried church. It is not that all worship was 
performed in caves in the olden time, but that 
the buildings have sunk. The antefixae of the 
stone slabs of these roofs have heads upon them 



128 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

and curved rays or scrolls, bearing the impress 
of a very early period, remounting to the antique. 
Its style, a bastard Roman, has little of the re- 
generated excellence of the romanesque. 

These things would have interested Jeanne, 
the unlettered Christian, more than the Celtic 
antiquity, the Pierre levee, at a short distance 
out of the town, on the Limoges road, by way 
of the Pont Neuf This, as a dolmen, is over- 
rated ; but Rabelais (who was to be born at 
Chinon later) says Pantagruel reared it, ' pour 
le divertissement des escholiers de I'universite,' 
who came here to carouse. 

Out in this suburb one sees the men working 
the inexhaustible white stone, and women, with- 
high combs, or with caps high-crowned at the 
back, and stuffed Avith pads shaped like a chair- 
back, sweeping their houses and the road in front 
— a dusty job — and wine-shops, with bushes hang- 
ing out for a sign, and tubs full of the must of 
ncAV wine staining the road with purple. Re- 
crossing the clear but sedgy river Clain, shaded 
by poplars, one gains a pyramidal view of the 
town : Notre Dame and St. Radegonde spiring 
the hill above an old Gothic gateway in the Rue Bar- 
bate, near the rich and beautiful St. Pierre; and 
deep in the valley St. Jean de Montiersneuf, where 
you descend eleven steps, very much worn, into an 
early romanesque interior, very fine, with baseless 
columns, round but clustered. In one transept 
is a grottoed chapel, with tall fir-trees growing 
and fountains trickling. It is quite dark by the 



THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 129 

inner altar. Fir-trees stand also behind the high al- 
tar, reminding one of the antique worship in groves. 
One can read this church's history in its adorn- 
ments. The chevet is very good old romanesque, 
the clerestory windows of the apse are decorated 
Gothic. The capitals are restored and ugly (egg and 
dart), but there are some old reticulated and other 
ancient capitals high in the deeply-recessed win- 
dows. Fergusson dates this church 1066. Near 
the entrance-door is the tomb of Count Guillaume 
VIL, the pious founder. His effigy wears a 
strawberry-leaved coronet. Burton, speaking of 
the Mosque of the Genii, says, 'like all ancient 
localities at Meccah, it is as much below as above 
ground.' So are the old buildings at Poitiers. 

Deeply interesting to Jeanne was the site of 
the battle of Poitiers, fought by the Black Prince. 
The site is fixed by Froissart at Maupertuis, five 
miles north-west of the town. There was also a 
great battle fought near Poitiers many centuries 
before this, in 507, when Clovis defeated Alaric, 
king of the Visigoths. 

The place so teems with history under discovery's 
plough that one is too. hard-worked at first. It 
is like the sight of a vast art-collection that gives 
one a fever of unrest which must be calmed 
before one can begin to enjoy. 

As one goes down to the water's edge, the place 
reminds the oriental traveller more and more of 
Jerusalem (until one comes to the water, where it 
again vividly recalls Toledo), the arid rocks, parched 
ground, and the peculiarly blue hue of the few 

K 



180 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

sharp shadows are all so southern. An old tower 
and a further bridge form picturesque objects 
as seen from the bridge one stands on. 

The churches in the townAvere Jeanne's favourite 
resort, and chiefest of all, the crowning glory of the 
place, Notre Dame. A labyrinthine monument of 
romanesque pell-mell, one calls it in one's first be- 
wilderment. Even description must be confused. 
An enchanting church outside, but, on descending 
the steps (for of course one enters by steps down- 
wards at Poitiers), and looking within, how coloured 
and patterny ! It is said to be restored to its 
primitive appearance. It is enough to put one's 
eyes out : an aesthetic person would fall sick. There 
is a fine carved-wood pulpit, which at first I took 
for bronze, one is so blinded by the colours. 

See that poor soul, with a long tale of sadness 
on her withered features, crouching down, telling 
her beads before the brocaded Madonna. What 
a picturesque figure ! bringing her sorrows and 
her patience there among those real flowers placed 
by the altar. The church is always a consoler. 
She is soothed by the rapidly-recited prayers of 
the venerable priest, assisted by a deacon. The 
incongruity of his very thick shoes with his crim- 
son damask cope does not occur to her; such hyper- 
criticisms are part of our overstrained delicacy 
and heedfulness of outward apparel, and the spirit 
of levity, which only discovers trifles to mock at 
them — grains of sand or dust, to edge one's wit 
upon. Better have no culture than the habitual 
critical scofiing that savours of the comic papers. 



THE TRTAL AT POITIERS. 131 

which kills even the hope that is in us. Not for 
the scoffer is the substance of that symbol of the 
sculptured figure of a man (the Root of Jesse), 
lying asleep or dead, and a tendrilled vine spring- 
ing up behind him, with the legend, ^Aperiatur 
terra et germinet salvatorcm,' there under the 
altar of St. Anne. 

The choir is Byzantine romanesque, in colour 
and all. The round columns are baseless, but 
solid and lofty. Fergusson says : ' The fa9ade of 
Notre Dame de Poitiers is strictly Angiovine, 
local in all its parts. Originally the one (!) win- 
dow it possessed was circular, but in the fifteenth 
century^ as may be seen from the mouldings then 
introduced, it was cut down to its present form, 
doubtless to make room for painted glass, which 
at that age had superseded all other modes of 
decoration ; whereas in the twelfth century, to 
which the church belongs, external sculpture and 
internal mural paintings were the prevailing 
modes of architectural expression. Sculpture is 
used in a profusion of which no example belong- 
ing to a later date exists. There is a richness 
and graphic power in the exuberant sculpture of 
the early facades which we miss in after ages, and 
of which no mere masonic excellence can ever 
supply the place.' 

This wealth of sculpture was like a rich library 
to Jeanne, who knew no other reading than what the 
churches supplied, and whose soul was continually 
lifted up among the symbols of the Revelation, 
typified in these things. 

K 2 



1:32 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

Notre Dame is especially curious and striking 
to a modern, and it is peculiar in its perfectness, 
for, as Fergusson further says : ' No churches of 
the province have the characteristic corner towers, 
nor do they retain their pedimented gable so per- 
fect as at Notre Dame de Poitiers.' It was founded 
in 1161. 

We must not linger too long even at Notre 
Dame ; there are so many other churches to be 
seen at Poitiers, and at these we must only 
glance, naming the most remarkable with the 
succinctness of an official catalos^ue. 

St. Radegonde presents a remarkable admixture 
of age and restoration, reminding one unwittingly 
of an aged face under a youthful wig. It is curi- 
ously old in parts, though one enters by a florid 
and comparatively modern doorway, beneath a 
Byzantine tower. The nave of the church is 
sunken below the surface, though not deep, but 
beneath the romanesque choir is a very ancient 
round-columned crypt, hewn in the rock, con- 
taining the empty tomb of the saint. There are 
votive inscriptions all around, some of them quaint 
enough, as, ' Reconnaissance a Ste. Radegonde 
pour la conversion de mon pere.' 

St. Porchaire strikes one as elegantly strange, 
with its round columns inside the entrance, 
whence arches spring as from five tall palm-trees 
into the rounded vaults. The windows are ogival, 
but the portal is romanesque, and there is an old 
Roman-looking arch beneath the whitewashed 
plaster. 



THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 133 

The Palais de Justice is the ancient palace of 
the Counts of Poitou. The Salle des Pas Perdus 
is a vast hall, with a timber forest in its roof, and 
rich fire-places of the twelfth and fifteenth cen- 
turies. The building is highly picturesque with- 
in and without. Besides the Palais de Justice, 
which is, next to the churches, most intimately 
connected with Jeanne d'Arc, there are many 
buildings of a later date Avhich add to the interest 
of this most captivating town. Here is 21, Rue 
du Marchc, which I take for the house Avhere 
Francis Bacon occupied rooms as a law-student. 
It is covered with renaissance ornaments, ox- 
heads, &c. J. Masteau, ironmonger, has his shop 
on the ground-floor. Two plaques are inscribed. 



one 



IN DNO CONFIDO 

1517. 



( HOC EST 

the other \ refugion 

( MEUM 1517 



There is another very quaint old house in the Rue 
Lebascle, behind the Musee, with a winding stair- 
case tower outside. A curious old gateway below 
this house bears a leo:end on a scutcheon %%%%(^% 
|g^|l ^OlCi:, and on its little pointed battle- 
ments, in the style of the Veronese renaissance, 
%Qn^ Ig^Sl i3i|^(ii. gib., 1581 : a letter on each 
crenellation. 

But renaissance buildings have no connection 
with Jeanne d'Arc, nor have private houses, for we 
cannot identify the house of Maitre Rabateau, with 
Avhose honourable wife she sojourned; so reluc- 
tantly, where each street has an attraction, I leave 
off sight-seeing. No, here is a street leading to a 
Gothic spire, and the nearest wall has a round 



134 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ABC. 

archway built in it, each stone carved with a 
winged animal, and a gateway below it, all of 
which might have sheltered or known Jeanne 
d'Arc ; and there are the old houses in the Rue de 
la Poire Cuite ; and another old house, which 
truly for its age might have been her abode, and 
another beyond again which has equal claims, 
none of which can be proved in the absence of 
written documents. One tradition — of some 
weight — seems to show that she did not stay with 
Maitre Rabateau during the whole of the time she 
was at Poitiers. We read in the 'Annals of 
Aquitaine,' by Jean Bouchet, ^T have heard tell 
in my youth, by the late Christofle du Peirat, 
who then, in 1495, dwelt in Poitiers and near 
my house, and who was nearly a hundred years 
old, that in my said house there was once an 
hostelry with the sign of the Rose, where Jeanne 
d'Arc was lodged, aud that he saw her mount on 
horseback, all in white armour, to go to Orleans. 
He showed me a small stone at the corner of the 
Rue St. Etienne, of which she took advantage to * 
mount her horse.' This stone is preserved in the 
museum at Poitiers. 

The Ecole Chretienne, too, is a most interesting 
specimen of domestic architecture in the decorated 
Gothic style well worthy of an architect's study : 
this alone would repay him for a visit. It is im- 
possible to tear one's self away; not in Nuremberg nor 
Augsburg is there so much to see as here in Poitiei's. 

Refreshing after this exhausting mental pleasure 
is it to ramble through the surroundings of the 



THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 135 

town, the woods and ravines of the river Clain ; to 
alter our own poet's Avords — 

' From where sweet Clanis wanders 

Through corn and vines and flowers ; 
Below where Poitiers lifts to heaven 
Her diadem of towers.' 

These environs are more pleasant than even the 
Blossac they are so proud of, a clipped avenue of 
limes, gritty and dusty, where the keen wind of 
Poitiers blows piercing cold at times. Yet this 
is full of charm, on calmer days, when one can sit 
looking over the old trefoil-arched parapet of 
this rampart promenade and enjoy the view over 
the clear green Clain, and see the cavalry winding 
up the opposite hill. It might be Jeanne's escort 
convoying her to see the site of the Black Prince's 
famous victory. 

Vexed at the hindrance to her mission, Jeanne 
did her best ; she took up the work that lay 
nearest to her hand while waiting for the doctors 
of the law to deliver judgment on the character 
of her message. She wrote to the English leaders 
now encamped before Orleans, or, rather, she dic- 
tated the letter, according to the commandment 
of her Voices, that it might be ready to send at 
the moment she should be authorized to send it. 
This letter bears date the 22nd of March. She 
also continued her military exercises. 

She had been confided to the guardianship of 
one of the most honourable families in Poitiers, 
and here, instead of calling her at first to them, 
the council of the doctors came to examine her. 



136 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

When she saw them enter the room, she sat 
down on the end of a bench and asked them 
what they wanted. They said they came to seek 
her, because she had told the king that God had 
sent her to him, and they showed her ' par belles 
et donees raisons ' that she was not to be believed. 
They remained over two hours, each speaking in 
turn, and she answered them ' so that they were 
greatly astonished that a simple shepherdess, a 
young girl, could thus reply.' Her intellect 
illumined everything it touched, while her inno- 
cent childlike faith always believed in the nobility 
and good faith of others. 

' Jeanne,' said Guillaume Aymeri, ' you ask for 
men-at-arms, and say it is God's pleasure that the 
English should quit France and return to their 
country. If that is so, no men-at-arms are needed, 
for the will of God can alone discomfit them and 
send them home.' 

' In God's name/ returned Jeanne, ' the men-at- 
arms will iight, and God will give the victory.' 
Master Guillaume admitted it was well replied. 
This was the key-note of her message, that 
human means must be used, and God would 
enlarge and bless them. I need give no more of 
the examination, which lasted three weeks, and 
was marked throughout on her side by a practical 
good sense and piety which convinced even the 
Dr. Seguin, said to have been * a very sour man,' 
who at first declared he could not, for his part, 
advise the king to confide men-at-arms to her 
leading, and to place them in peril on her word 



THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 137 

alone. He required a sign of her mission. Then 
came her reply which heads this chapter. It 
is brother Seguin who has preserved the minutes 
of the first day's examination, and ' sour man ' 
as he w^as, and wounded at the girlish vivacity 
of some of her answers, he has honestly recorded 
even those which were made at his expense by 
the youthful Boeotian. 

'Fine spectacle,' writes Alain Chartier, under 
an impression still lively, ' to see her dispute, a 
woman against men ; ignorant against the learn- 
ed ; alone against so many adversaries!' The 
beauty of the woman counted, perhaps, for some- 
thing in his enthusiasm. So did Rienzi before 
the doctors of the law maintain his mission to 
restore a people to liberty ; but Rienzi was a 
learned man, Jeanne was an illiterate girl. God's 
power lay in her weakness. 

' I know neither A nor B ; but I am sent by the 
King of Heaven to raise the siege of Orleans, and to 
lead the king to Rheims,to be crowned and anointed.' 

They asked her of her visions, whether they 
were constant. ' My council is there. One voice 
stays with me always, another comes and goes, 
and visits me often, and with the third both 
deliberate,' Is this the natural fusion and con- 
fusion of ideas in a luminous but uncultivated 
intellect trying to burst the prison of ignorance ? 
or is it, as our best English writer* on Jeanne 
d'Arc has faintly suggested, a symbolical explana- 
tion of conscience and prayer ? 

* Miss Parr. 



138 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

George Eliot says : ' I don't think any of the 
strongest effects our natures are susceptible of 
can ever be explained. We can neither detect 
the process by which they are arrived at, nor the 
mode in which they act upon us.' 

The highest knowledge, though it may bring 
to light the prophetic gift, does not confer it : it 
oftener smothers it. Jeanne had a gift, and it 
ennobled her. 

' JSTothing she does or seems 
But smacks of something greater than herself.' 

Jeanne came victoriously through these trials 
of her mental attitude. 

' There is more in the Lord's book than there is 
in yours,' said she, with her natural vivacity; and 
still the doctors admired her, and admitted that 
she had answered throughout with as much prud- 
ence as if she had been a fine scholar. Everyone 
agreed in the fact of her goodness, humility, vir- 
ginity, devotion, uprightness, and simplicity. The 
matrons attested all this of her in their turn. 
These things are better than book-learning. 

Without going so far as the distinguished 
journalist who says, 'Few things are worth know- 
ing, and they can mostly be learnt in conversa- 
tion,' many of us are beginning to feel that most 
books are only substitutes for thought, which is 
a better thing; or for conversation, our liveliest 
pleasure. The founder of our religion is only re- 
corded once as having written ; He lived, and we 
are expressly told that we should followin His steps. 

As the Times said lately of diplomatic inter- 



THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 139 

course, ' What we want is less clerical toil, and more 
personal insight.' In the household it is the same. 
Written orders are appealed to as having been 
given, they remain to witness of the fact ; but, 
if they are not carried out, where are we? Poli- 
tics — a different thing from policy — still prevailed 
over patriotism at the court. 

The best evidence that could be obtained con- 
curring in her favour, there was no hindrance to 
her being used as a moral support to the king's 
forces. More than this they did not expect of 
her ; nor, indeed, did some of them wish for more. 
Preparations were now being made to push the 
war with vigour, and all was getting ready for 
the time when the cash should be collected. 

Thou2:h the church and law had nothino; to 
say against the Maid, the money question was, 
as usual, the motor of war, or else its impediment. 

Jeanne had permission to go and stay awhile 
with her friends, the Duke and Duchess of Alen- 
con, at their chateau at St. Florent, near Saumur. 
They took the liveliest interest in her, and 
here for about ten days she saw the best side 
of court life, while her army was equipped and 
her standard embroidered and emblazoned from 
her directions. This was of white linen, worked 
with silken fleurs-de-lis. The blazon was the Lord 
seated on the clouds of heaven, bearing the world 
in his hand, and blessing a fleur-de-lis presented 
on each side by an angel, with the inscription, 
' Jliesus Maria.' On the reverse Avas the shield 
of France borne by two angels. She had also a 



140 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

pennon, or small banner, on which was painted 
the Annunciation. This she mostly carried in 
her own hand during battle. ^ Never,' she said, 
' had she killed any person,' and she loved her 
banner forty times better than her sword, even 
the sword that she sent to fetch from behind 
the altar at Ste. Katherine de Fierbois. 

They formed her retinue, among whom were her 
guides, Jean de Metz and Bertrand de Poulengy, 
and, according to Wallon, her two young bro- 
thers, Jean and Pierre, who had just joined her. 
The Abbe Bourgaut says they joined her later at 
Tours, which is more likely. A brave and tried 
knight, Jean, Sire d'Aulon, ' le plus probe des 
chevaliers a la cour,' was appointed her esquire. 
Her page, Louis de Contes, was also brother-in- 
law of Jean Beauharnais, burgess of Orleans, a 
witness for Jeanne's rehabilitation. Prince Eu- 
gene was descended from this family. 

It must have been a gay and pleasant journey 
to Jeanne, with growing reputation, and all thus 
preparing for her great enterprise, to ride in the 
midst of a bright company of friends, from 
Chinon, where she had now returned in triumph, 
to the charming residence of the Duke d'Alencon, 
who, by his parole to the English, had been hither- 
to debarred from battle. This young couple were 
of special interest to Jeanne from their relation- 
ship to the captive Duke of Orleans. Charles, 
Due d'Orleans, married in 1406 Elisabeth, or 
Isabelle de France, young widow of Richard II. 
of England. She died in 1409, leaving a daugh- 



THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 141 

ter married in 1421 (jubente patre, says Astezan) 
to Jean, Duke of Alencon. The Alencons had 
no children. 

DoAvn the narrow, paved way, since named 
Rue Jeanne d'Arc, the joyous cavalcade swept 
on ; across the bridges, and through the suburb 
where the old women even now wear old-fashioned 
caps with broad strings pinned coronet-wise round 
the head — tall caps shaped like the head-dresses 
on old sculptured tombs ; past the wine-shops 
with their bushes ; perhaps these were mere booths 
in those days, but there must always have been 
wine-shops of some sort, as there must have been 
much gaiety surrounding a pleasure-loving court, 
though it was so nearly bankrupt. The third 
bridge crosses a swamp merely, and the road to 
the Loire lies through marshy meadows among 
walnut-trees shading blue and red corn-flowers. 
Chinon Castle from here looks low-seated, which 
is a curious optical illusion. 

At five kilometres from Chinon a road turns 
off to Chateau Coudrai, which is six kilometres 
further yet. The chateau is ancient, yet it is 
impossible that Jeanne d'Arc should have been 
sent so far off at the time when it was required to 
cross-question her at every moment, and scrutinise 
her actions severely. 

The landscape hereabout resembles Devonshire, 
only with walnuts instead of apple-trees. There 
are some orchards, however, as well as apple-trees 
in the standing corn, or in the abundant grass 
for hay. In some places there are moss-grown 



142 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UAUC. 

vines beneath the apple-trees, the produce of all of 
which speaks for the sun's power under the sky of 
Touraine. The spreading limbs of the trees are 
clothed with green velvety moss on the upper side. 
In the meadows are willows and poplars, for it is a 
well-watered country and spacious, easy for the 
poor to live in. All seems faineant and easy-going 
like Charles VII. himself; though perhaps the 
rapid growth makes double work for somebody ; 
for besides the two crops a year, which have to 
be tilled and harvested, the weeds also grow so 
quickly that it is hard to keep them under. A 
brimstone butterfly looks like the departing spirit 
of the primroses, as it flies along above the potato 
ridges. 

Hale men in blouses and women with clear, 
agate-coloured eyes and pretty, regular features 
set in stifl^, deep-frilled country caps, salute the 
passing traveller, and very dark-skinned gipsies 
eye him curiously as he follows the Vienne, where 
there are broad-sailed barges going up stream, and 
a ferry hard at work with pleasure-folk at the point 
where the Indre falls into the Vienne. At Candes 
the united river joins the Loire, which now becomes 
wonderfully islanded in its widened course, form- 
ing quite a plexus of rivers, so entwined are they, 
or braided together. 

What a beautiful church this is at Candes, all 
white like a bride : an exquisite surprise. A 
slender column stands in the lofty, vaulted porch 
of the north doorway, which faces the road, sup- 



THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 143 

porting cleeply-groined vaulting in the early 
pointed style. The church is castellated in a 
peculiar manner, giving the idea of a warrior in 
robes of peace ; or conversely of Jeanne d'Arc, the 
virofin, in her martial arrav. The battlements have 
trefoiled cusps like those on Charles's clock- tower 
at Chinon. Many churches of this date were 
actually fortified. Bands of niched saints sur- 
round two storeys of the north front. The lower 
frieze has sculptures of angels, crowned heads, 
foliage, and animals in a richly- woven intricacy 
of design. The church is niched in the slope 
of a steep hill — the quarry, in fact, whence its 
material is extracted. The rounded aisle within 
the niche and the zigzagged windows betoken a 
much earlier date than do the richer decorations 
of the front towards the road. The interior is 
elegant, but chiefly remarkable for containing 
the tomb of St. Martin, who died at Candes. 
The apsidal choir is of the twelfth, and the nave 
of the thirteenth century. Candes is on the 
border line between Touraine and Anjou. 

There are many traces of castles, half-hidden 
among honeysuckles and wreaths of roses, here by 
the Loire. The principal of these, the chateau 
of Montsoreau, is of large extent, and bristling 
with machicolations. At a round-ended market- 
cross, a road turns off to Fontevrault. The Duke 
of Alen9on's cavalcade would probably not have 
turned aside to visit the abbey, with its tombs 
of foreign kings, though doubtless he talked of 



144 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

it to Jeanne. Although Fontevrault stands on a 
hill, it is not visible from their road.* 

They rode on, following the tufa cliffs, by the 
caves of Souze near the brimming Loire. Cave 
dwellino:s are hollowed all alono; here in the 
building stone. Doubtless the poor people dwelt 
in these quarries then much as they do now. 
The houses look comfortable and shapely, the 
fine stone being so easily hewn. They are set 
in banks of iris and roses, wdth delicate wistaria 
trailing along their eaves, and coloured vine- 
shoots o:lowino: translucent above the walls. Their 
only ventilation or draught is by their chimneys, 
which sometimes crop up in the fields above : 
these chimneys also serve as speaking tubes, to 
communicate with the vine-dresser or labourer 
up there. All this was new and curious to 
Jeanne, being so unlike her own country. 

Here the women's caps again alter in shape : 
they are plain on the top, with the borders gof- 
fred at the ears. These caps are survivals of the 
middle-ages. When we see them carved in solid 
stone on the tombs we marvel ; in lace and linen, 
we understand them better. Another English 
royal tomb is here. Queen Margaret of Anjou 
died and was buried in the chateau of Dampierre 
here close by the Loire. Poor Margaret ! a baby 

* N.B. — Let all intending visitors to Fontevrault be warned that the 
abbey is now used as a prison, one of the largest in France. It is 
very difficult to obtain an order to visit the English royal tombs, and 
no ladies are permitted to enter the precincts on any consideration. 
A high wall prevents anyone seeing much of tlie abbey building. 
The village or town is uninteresting. 



THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 145 

of a month old when Jeanne d'Arc passed by 
Dampierre. 

Rnskin thus describes this part of the Loire : 
' The district through which it here flows is for 
the most part a low place, yet not altogether at 
the level of the stream, but cut into steep banks 
of chalk or gravel, thirty or forty feet high, run- 
ning for miles at about an equal height above the 
water. These banks are excavated by the peas- 
antry, partly for houses, partly for cellars, so 
economizing vineyard space above ; and thus a 
kind of continuous village runs along the river- 
side, composed half of caves, half of rude build- 
ings, backed by the cliffs, propped against it, 
therefore always leaning away from the river ; 
mingled with overlappings of vineyard and trellis 
from above, and little towers or summer-houses 
for outlook, when the grapes are ripe, or for 
gossip over the garden- wall.' 

Here are the windmills of Saumur, and here is 
Saumur itself, with its strong, square, high-seated 
castle, resembling in shape the White Tower of Lon- 
don, but with four rounded towers at the corners, 
below which lies the town, with its churches 
and picturesque Hotel de Ville. The Alen9on 
party do not stop, but, in the sunshine dappled 
with the western clouds, they ride on through 
Saumur, by the Loire bank, and across the mea- 
dows, then abounding in quail, by the mean- 
dering river Thouet, (a good part of these meadows 
are now drained for the cavalry school,) and up the 
slope to the convent on the left, with its church 

L 



146 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

and dwelling-house, now all restored, or new, and 
the parish church on the right. This is St. 
Florent-les-Saumur, and it is far more reasonable 
that we should find the site of the Duke of Alen- 
9on's house here than that we should follow down 
the Loire to the Abbey of St. Florent at In- 
grande, beyond Angers, as some writers would 
have us do. (Berriat St. Prix only marks St. 
Florent-le-Vieil in his map.) It is three days' ride 
further off; less certainly by boat going down 
stream, but one would be indefinitely slowjin return- 
ing. Jeanne d'Arc would hardly have consented 
to go so far for pleasure. Here, at St. Florent-les- 
Saumur, she was as near the scene of action 
as at Chinon, or nearer. St. Florent-le-A^eil 
Avould not have been called near Saumur, which 
all old chroniclers expressly state. Writers fall 
into these mistakes by trusting maps — which 
ignore ruins and sites of former places — instead 
of studying the ground, as Macaulay did for all 
the chief j)oints in his history. 

These convent buildings have all the appear- 
ance of standing on the site of an earlier house, 
the former abbey of St. Florent, Avhich dated from 
the eleventh to the thirteenth century, and which 
was destroyed in the Revolution or, as Wallon 
asserts, between 1803 and 1833. The duke's house 
was a hunting-seat, not a castle. Much of the 
former interior is in good preservation, and the 
fine staircase still remains. It was a dependence 
of the ancient abbey, which had several extensive 
secular buildings belonging to it. Of the abbey 



THE TRIAL AT POITTERS. U7 

church, which was called the ' Belle of Anjou/ only 
the narthex and the crypt remain. 

The parish church, on the right-hand side of 
the road, has two aisles. An ancient, great, 
round stoup for holy water, bigger than a baptis- 
mal font, is noticeable on entering. The archi- 
tecture is romanesque, and good early decorated 
Gothic. The exterior is castellated in the fashion 
prevalent about here. It has been carefully restored. 
There is every reason to suppose that Jeanne 
d'Arc worshipped in this church during her stay 
with the Alen9ons. 

The present convent, presumably on the site 
of their house, lies high across the bridge beyond 
the rope-walk. There is even now a ferry over 
the Thouet, in the meadows below the bridge. 
The country here and further up the hill is 
well-peopled, and fertile with gardens and vine- 
yards. 

This was perhaps the happiest fortnight in 
Jeanne's life. This season, too, of April is so 
perfect in Touraine. There are masses of blue- 
bells now, and foxgloves ready to come on. Truly 
we ^ tourists, heaven preserve us,' flit like butter- 
flies from joy to joy. We lounge here on these 
mossy stone couches in the sunshine and enjoy 
ourselves. What wealth there is for the people in 
these apple-blossoms ; what joy is in their faces 
and thankfulness in their hearts for this countless 
bloom and the glad promise of the vines ; the 
pear-trees all one foam, casting ofl^ their spray 
in a white shower of petals all around, the lambs 

l2 



M8 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

nipping the lower shoots of the young quick-set 
hedges, the barley in the ear, the sounds of good 
feeding in the world of pigs and fowls, and geese 
and hens. How busy the sunshine is bringing 
things to life everywhere, and how the people 
smile and are glad ! They have the true wealth 
of happiness, of usefulness, and interest in and 
enjoyment of their possessions, and do not need 
the money-wealth caused by sub-division of 
labour, w^hich cramps life and destroys its healthi- 
ness. 

Jeanne too saw all this, and sympathized with 
the joy of her fellow-peasants. 

We may afford to linger on this glimpse of 
pleasure and of cultivated enjoyment in the society 
of persons of high rank in the laborious life of 
our heroine, foreign as it may seem to the tenor 
of her great purpose. One's surroundings are 
part of oneself, so, in considering the life of the 
Maid of Orleans, the ground she travelled over 
became part of herself and of her education. 
Though a strong character like Jeanne's developes 
itself and cannot be cast in a mould, yet the 
poetical, imaginative nature has a soft surface 
very apt to receive impressions. 

In education there are two planes which meet 
each other, the nature of the being (within) and 
the educing power (without). The fineness of the 
nature is the most important factor of the result, 
and Jeanne's was of excellent quality. When it 
is of this fineness, it constitutes that genius 
* which heaven and earth conspire to educate,' 



THE TRIAL AT POITIERS. 149 

therefore the educing power we can apply does 
not matter so much as in the ordinary cases. 
Jeanne was a choice instrument in the hand of the 
Lord of the whole earth. 

Percival de Cagny, who belonged to the Duke 
of Alen9on's household, was the first historian of 
the Maid. He has given us many glimpses of the 
pleasant social life of the time, showing us that 
the warriors were not always sheathed in steel. The 
duke promised the Maid, that so soon as he should 
be liberated from his parole as prisoner of the 
English, he would join her standard in the army. 
The duchess, alarmed for his safety, Avould have 
withheld him from making this promise. 

' Fear nothing, madame,' said Jeanne d'Arc ; ' I 
will restore him to you safe and sound, in as good 
case as he is, or even better.' 



150 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE LOIRE. 

' Le temps a laissie son manteau, 
De vent, de froidure, et de pluye, 
Et s'est vestu de broderie 
De soleil raiant cler et beau, 
II n'y a beste ne oiseau, 
Qui en son jargon ne cliante ou crye, 
Le temps a laissie son manteau. 

' Riviere, fontaine, et ruisseau, 

Portent en liuree jolye, 

Gouttes d'argent d'orfevrerie, 

Chascun s'abille de nouveau, 

Le temps a laissie son manteau.' 
Charles, Duke of Orleans (father of Louis XII). 

The holiday was over. Jeanne must repair to 
Blois, or, according to Wallon, to Tours. He 
says the king delayed no longer, but sent her to 
Tours about the 20th of April, where they formed 
a complete military retinue for her, with two 
heralds and an almoner. The force had not been 
able to move earlier, as before the 21st of April 
they could not give the soldiers ^ les arrhes de 
I'entree en campagne.' Charles had only four 
ecus left, says Marguerite de la Thouroude, wife 
of the receiver-general, who was with the queen 

of France at Bourges. The queen of Sicily, the 



TEE LOIRE. 151 

soul of the national party, had undertaken to 
gather its strength at Blois, under distinguished 
leaders, and Jeanne Avas to join them there. It 
does not appear that she returned to Chinon from 
St. Florent. 

Another ride, at a more energetic pace this 
time, through Sauinur and across the double 
bridge, which gives such a good view of the 
castle. In the Quartier des Fonts, in the island, 
at Saumur, there is a house built by King Rene, 
called 'La Maison de la reine Cicile' (de Sicile). 
It was highly ornamented then, for Rene was a 
kino; of taste. It is now much defaced. 

They rode across the fertile plain, watered by 
many streamlets, on the opposite side of the 
Loire ; past Langeais, with its turreted castle, 
where, later on, the monarchy of France was 
strengthened and firmly established by the mar- 
riage of Charles VIII. with Anne of Brittany ; 
through the fertile district of Chouze-sur-Loire, 
just opposite Souze — here, what a feast of roses ! 
Who has not contemplated the awakening of Na- 
ture in Touraine on the fair banks of Loire, has 
never known ' the time of roses ?' Palaces of 
foliage, temples of verdure rise as by enchant- 
ment from the ground. So writes an exuberant 
Frenchman, revelling in his country. Hoav the 
sun smiled on the Maid, and wreathed her path 
with flowers, as she swept on, joyous with her 
bannered army ! Her energetic nature, too, was 
effervescent with delight. Hope was gladdening 
into fruition. 



152 FOOTISTEPI^ OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

They rode past the remarkable Pile of Cinq 
Mars, that extraordinary monument, which has 
perplexed all antiquarians by its seeming useless- 
ness. It has been supposed to be Roman, Celtic, 
cinerary, astronomical, monumental, a beacon, or 
only built for the purpose of puzzling posterity. 
It is a square brick tower, ninety-live feet high, 
looking like a pinnacled chimney ; it is sixteen 
feet wide in each face. On the south side the 
pattern of the bricks forms twelve compartments. 
It had formerly five pinnacles, each ten feet high ; 
one of them has been thrown down. The pile is 
perfectly solid, and has no openings of any kind. 
M. Joanneau computes its age at two thousand 
four hundred. years, but then eternity itself is a 
trifle in the hands of a thorough-going antiquarian 
or geologist. Near this is the castle of Cinq 
Mars, with two round towers and a fine rampart ; 
then comes Luynes, with its cave dwellings and 
limestone cliffs, whence one can look across the 
broad valley of the Loire and Cher, which run 
parallel with each other for leagues, and the Ro- 
man aqueduct which led from Luynes to Tours. 

Yonder is Tours cathedral, a landmark in the 
grey distance above those glowing fields where 
ordinarily nothing is busy but the butterflies. 
Tours was then humming with warlike prepara- 
tions ; all were looking forward to excitement as 
a change. The languor of the monarch had in- 
fected all classes ; the martial energy of the Maid 
revived them. 

She stayed about a week at Tours, happier with 



THE LOIRE. 153 

the bourgeois people, who were nearer her own 
rank, than with the courtiers and nobles among 
whom she had won her place, always excepting 
her kind friends the Alen9ons. Lonely in her 
high-wrought ascetic self-devotion, a very vestal 
of purity, she was maidenly in all her ways. She 
ever associated, spoke with, and was beloved by 
women. There is no shadow, or rather no bright- 
ness, of love-tale in her tragic story. She loved 
children, and was often asked to be sponsor to 
them, and she loved young girls. Her friendship 
at Tours with the daughter of the painter, Hennes 
Poluoir, who emblazoned her banner, is a pleasant 
feature in her outwardly stern career. When 
this young girl married, Jeanne asked, in a letter 
addressed to the town-council of Tours, for a 
hundred crowns to be given her for her trousseau, 
as an act of friendship towards herself. This, and 
her request that her native place might be exempt 
from taxation, were the only favours Jeanne ever 
asked in return for her services to the king. She 
desired nothing for herself, ' fors bonnes amies et 
bons chevaux.' 

During her stay in Tours, the king caused a 
complete suit of armour to be made for her, and 
he gave her horses for herself and her people ; 
but in place of the sword he offered her she wrote 
from Tours to Fierbois to the priests, asking if 
they would allow her to have the sword marked 
with five crosses in the church of St. Katherine ; 
an armourer of Tours was sent to fetch it. It 
was sent to her with two magnificent scabbards. 



15-1 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

one of red velvet, the other of cloth of gold. She 
caused a sheath to be made for it in strong 
leather for every-day use. 

At once she set to work to purify the camp 
and reform the manners of the soldiers. It is a 
fine example of the influence of womanhood that 
La Hire, the reckless, who heeded no claims on 
his veneration, and cared only for military glory, 
who was accustomed to swear and take God's 
name in vain all day, even he dared no longer 
swear ' but by his baton ' before Jeanne d'Arc, 
the village maiden. 

Schiller puts her feeling into beautiful words 
when he makes her say, ' Heaven is for France ; 
angels whom thou seest not flght for our king ; 
they are all decked with lilies. The standard of 
our noble cause is white as is the lily; the pure 
Virgin is its chaste symbol".' Tours was not then 
the common-place capital of a flat surrounding 
that it now is — the ' nicest place on the Conti- 
nent' to the common-place Britannic mind, 
though a sleepy residence for persons requiring 
intellectual stimulus. The Revolution did what 
most revolutions do, it ground everything down 
to a dead level, devoid of all the picturesque 
of memory ; only the dust of history remains, and 
there is plenty of historical dust in Tours. But 
Tours has its beauties of climate, of which no 
revolutions can deprive it. There is a great 
timber-stemmed magnolia-tree in the courtyard 
of the Hotel de I'Univers telling of more rapid 
wood-ripening than they make with us. One 



THE LOIRE. 155 

can sit in the Square de rArcheveche looking 
towards the cathedral, whose doors are wide open, 
comparing its tall renaissance towers with the 
young straight palm-trees as they tower above the 
sub-tropical plants, and the crowned heads of all the 
trees. There is no inner door to the cathedral, so that 
the nave of the church is completely exposed to 
view, giving a grand effect that we miss in our nor- 
thern churches ; and the altars are loaded with 
real flowers ; no cambric artificialities, rag flowers. 

But there are some churches in modernized 
Tours of Jeanne d'Arc's time and older, ever so 
much older. St. Julian's, built in 1224 upon the 
remains of an earlier church, whose nave is eight 
steps lower than the street ; another of those 
churches which has half-buried itself with age. 
Darwin tells us that this is the work of worms, 
who industriously raise the ground outside with 
their worm-casts. If Darwin's theory be true, then 
churches also are a prey to the worms. Though 
the heavier buildings being deepest buried, 
makes it seem that worms have but little to do with 
the matter. There is a pretty garden behind the 
high altar. This church has a straight east end 
and no chevet, only a passage under the large 
east window. This is unusual in France, espe- 
cially in this part of France. There is a very 
lightly traceried triforium gallery. This church 
has a fine romanesque tower and vestibule. 

The neio'hbourhood of the Rue St. Martin 
naturally contains the most precious relics of 
ancient Tours. In front of the church of St. 



156 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

Saturnin are many old, overhanging houses, 
cross-barred and aboundmg in beams of carded 
wood, and hard by one sees the fine old tower 
called after Charlemagne, and another, its com- 
panion, equally conspicuous ; the spring of former 
arches with zmzR^ mouldino^s show that these once 
belonged to the same magnificent building, the vast 
basilica of Tours originating in the fourth cen- 
tury. All the ground hereabout was once cov- 
ered by this world-famous cathedral of St. Martin, 
whose gorgeous shrine, though not his actual 
tomb, is in an adjoining subterranean chapel. 

In about a week the army was ordered ofi* to 
Blois to form a junction with the main body of 
the force and the convoy of provisions for the 
revictualling of Orleans. The money had come 
in at last ; if sparingly, it had come, and all was 
activity and haste to be at Orleans before the 
need of the besieged became too pressing. 

Jeanne rode to Blois in company with the 
Archbishop of Rheims and several nobles in 
command of the army, which she reckoned at 
not less than ten or twelve thousand men, when 
united to the force which the Queen of Sicily 
had collected with the convoy at Blois. She was 
cheered by the arrival of her two young brothers, 
who had lately joined her standard. 

Out again into the fields striped with golden but- 
tercups in bands of green and yelloAV. The hill-slopes 
are thickly studded with villages and dwellings cut 
in the chalky tufa, set among sweet buds and shiver- 
ing poplar branches and young sunny leaves of 



THE LOIRE. 157 

acacia, all soft, filmy, and tender like French land- 
scape-painting. The vale lies deep in rushes and 
water, and white water-flowers, and tender shadows, 
mysterious and soft as love, bounded by glaucous- 
blue wheatfields and hazy distances all tremulous in 
the warm, moist atmosphere of latest April before 
it blushes into May, their hues melting into each 
other with no harshness, scarcely an outline, aerial- 
ly soft as the pale, pink, feathery -flowered tamarisk, 
falling like a fountain, which veils the shimmer- 
ing sunshine on the Loire, leaving only lesser suns 
in the yellow flowers de luce in the pools, gleam- 
ing like patines of bright gold. There is nothing 
out of harmony in this sweet country • even now 
in this age of sin and sensuality I see a man 
with a rose in his mouth — instead of a cigar. 

We seldom see the tamarisk in flower in 
England. In October of 1884, after a hot sum- 
mer, it was admired and marvelled at in Corn- 
wall, where no one remembered having seen it 
flower before. I had seen it flowering profusely 
in Touraine and Berri in early May of the same 
year. The orientals call the dove the ' Bird of 
the Tamarisk,' perhaps because both are so soft 
to touch and so tender in hue ; one can hardly 
call it colour, or only dove-colour. An Arabian 
poet speaks of a maiden's form ' waving like the 
tamarisk when the soft wind blows from the hills 
ofNejd.' 

And all this fair land was to be saved ! Jeanne 
d'Arc must have admired it, even if, like Jeanie 
Deans, she only thought it was ^ braw feeding for 



158 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC, 

the COWS.' To Jeanne it was more than a rich 
picture, it was a grand reality, filling her heart 
with praise and thanksgiving, for she was ap- 
pointed to win back this land for her own people 
and make it smile again. She too had the j)eas- 
ant's habitual faith and trust in the outpouring 
hand of the Creator that He will give the bless- 
ino; which follows faith. This is not our cold 
idea of self-help, which only trusts our own right 
hand; so that we remain shorn of joy because we 
look to create for ourselves a hard and bare subsist- 
ence, with no overflowing, including only what we 
make, not what God gives besides. Bread perhaps, 
for we have earned it, but little wine and — no roses. 

How beautiful is life when young, yet per- 
fect in its strength ! How beautiful too is 
Nature, clad in the intense young green of a 
spring morning ! Nature never grows old. She 
blooms now in our late century as fair as ever ; 
as we can see in the countless blossom of these 
nurseries of young trees, kept here to make 
avenues for the high-roads. The French have 
always liked to trim their straight roads v/itli 
green fringe and flowers. 

The land was not devastated by the army's 
passage, this garden of France in its glad time 
of rosy promise. The armies of those days spared 
the peasants' toil, not for the peasant's sake truly, 
but for their own subsistence, and also because 
the soldiers themselves became peasants again 
when the battle was over. Jeanne was hailed 
by the common people as a deliverer. Everything 



THE LOIRE. 159 

was hopeful, everyone was young, in feeling at 
least, and Jeanne's heart was unchilled, unblighted. 
That 'fulness and luxuriance of life which has 
in it something of divine ' was in her followers, 
but in herself this was intensified by a spiritual 
conviction of having her powers especially called 
forth by the Creator for His own use. 

The army crossed the bridge at Tours, and 
kept to the left bank of the Loire, the southern 
side ; as in the season of floods there was only 
a scrambling path across the hills between Tours and 
Frilliere, and the southern road was well defended 
by the castle of Amboise, which commands it both 
ways from Tours to Blois. The Loire was then 
more of a torrent flood than now, because of the 
vast and numerous forests that gathered the rain. 
The north side is especially liable to inundations 
of the river, which often devastate the land for 
miles. There has existed from Carlovino-ian times 
the great embankment of the Loire on the right 
bank, from Blois to Angers, one hundred miles ; 
but this was not always available as a road. The 
most important works of these dykes were made 
under Henry IL, King of England and Count of 
Anjou. But in times of poverty and disturb- 
ance, public works of utility are left to loss, and 
the embankment was out of repair. Vernon 
is built up on the hill, and so are many of the 
villages, which now look like one bright, con- 
tinuous suburb of Tours, in order to escape the 
floods. A break of a few inches in the soft clykc 
of light gravel is enough to make the river effect 



160 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC, 

an entrance ; a molehill giving way when the 
river is swollen, in rushes the flood, melting 
the land before it ; and on the first rush of the 
torrent both men and cattle make swiftly for the 
hills, where many people keep a dwelling on 
purpose to take refuge in. 

But it is a quickly recuperating country, the 
sun soon sets to rights the mischief of the floods, 
which retiring, leave a fresh deposit of rich soil 
upon the fields, and the vineyards are seldom 
much damaged by their bath ; the acacias and 
glorious judas-trees, now a mass of pink flowers, 
are firmly rooted, the land is soon as glowing and 
beautiful as ever. The women, clad now-a-da5^s 
in blue cotton and worked Touraine caps with 
narrow frills, knit while they lead down their cows 
and tether them to within an inch, it seems, of 
the standing corn, and the black and white cattle 
stand breast-deep in the crimson clover. Men 
quafl* the sparkling wine of Vouvray, which, as 
it will not travel, the inhabitants keep for them- 
selves, and they are gladdened with Nature's 
bounties even through her chastisements. 

The people here are gay and happy, though 
their country is less neat and trim than Nor- 
mandy and the northern provinces, which are 
an agricultural pleasure-ground. Up the country 
in many parts, in La Brie for instance, people 
are stern like their hard climate, here they are 
gay and sparkling, like their wine. Perhaps vif 
too, like their Loire, whose devastating fury can- 
not be calculated on nor controlled. 



THE LOIRE. 161 

Fifteen miles from Tours is Amboise, another of 
the islanded Loire towns, with double bridge, whose 
castle is its his^h-seated citadel. Amboise, where 
nearly a century later Leonardo da Vinci was to live 
and die : 1452 — 1519 are the dates graven on his 
monument in the castle garden. A risky-look- 
ing place is this low-lying island, barely secure 
from floods ; a charming place this lofty castle, 
with its towers of many diiferent heights all 
intermingled with foliage of remarkable variety, 
and valerian and pinks tufting the outer walls ; 
its gardens an ordered labyrinth of beauty and 
delight, its varied views each one lovelier than 
the last, culminating in a rapturous scene w^hich 
includes the length of the winding Loire, with 
its bridges and wooded islands, and a nearer 
scene of arches, gardens, gurgoyles, and the 
delicate white miniature chapel of St. Hubert, 
florid to profusion with its minutely fondled 
sculptures, wrought like silversmiths' Avork, and 
its panel in high relief, above the chapel door, 
of St. Hubert discovering the miraculous stag 
with the cross between its antlers. 

The modern chateau itself is insignificant ; but 
the old round towers seem part of the natural 
rock they rest upon, and some of these date from 
Roman timies. Amboise is one of the choicest 
scenes in Europe as a mingling of all the beauties 
of mediaeval romance. In its ancient castle, its 
scenery and gardens. Art has perfected Nature. 
No pen or pencil save Turner's could do justice 
to this delicious place. He has given us the 

M 



162 ' FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC, 

scene, yet even he cannot revive for us the 
forms that haunt this place, nor give back to 
the world their spirit. The armoured figures on 
their tapestries and canvas mock us with their 
' scorn of our dull, uninspired, snail-paced lives,' 
that we think so energetic, but which are only so 
fatiguing. 

Leaving Touraine and entering Le Blesois, the 
cavalcade rode on through the still exquisite valley 
between the densely-wooded slopes on both sides 
of the Loire, crossing the bridge and arriving at 
Blois in time to hear the nightingale's song before 
taking refuge within its solid old Avails. After 
their day's ride of thirty -five miles, they were just 
half-way to Orleans, their goal. 

Blois had not then its present gardened ap- 
pearance, nor was its castle then bristling with 
porcupines and carved with the badges of Anne 
of Brittany and the salamanders of Francis I., for 
the present castle on the western hill was not then 
built. But the town's situation was always fine as 
any on the Loire, with its cloven hill and amphi- 
theatral distribution of the ground, which is 
made available by terraces and streets of stairs. 

The cathedral, which now occupies the eastern 
height above the river, is neither old nor grand. 
The bishop's palace is splendidly situated, with 
its kitchen gardens among the ancient walls 
and terraces of the former castle, which received 
Jeanne and her companions. The prospect from 
the dense chestnut promenade is delightful, em- 
bracing wide sweeps of the Loire and its beau- 



THE LOIRE. 163 

tiful rich vale. It is delightful, too, to sit in 
the more open lime-tree avenue listening to the 
evensong of birds. ' 

The western hill holds the chief attractions for 
the traveller. Here is the piled castle of Louis 
XII. and Francis I. This solid fortress of roughly 
herring-boned masonry is softened to the eye by 
the oleanders growing near the huge walls, cliffs 
of masonry one might call them, and so one 
might the walls of the inner dwelling of the 
castle, a tremendous building with its rounded 
bastions. It is a relief to get inside the court- 
yard, where the castle looks less threatening and 
more habitable. This inner front is highly de- 
corative, Avith its statue all gilt and coloured of 
the king on horseback, and its carvings of the 
porcupine of Louis the Well-beloved and the 
ermines of Anne of Brittany. 

The bridge of Blois is one of those high-raised 
structures of uneven arches built to suit the 
erratic current of the shifting Loire, meeting at 
an obtuse angle in the centre like that of Gien. 
This bridge, which was built in the time of Louis 
XV., is surmounted by an obelisk in the centre. 
The view of Blois is fine seen from the willowed 
waters of the Loire. 

The grand old church of St. Nicolas, half-way 
down the western hill beneath the castle, is far 
more interesting than the renaissance cathedral. 
It has a small cupola and fine romanesque 
columns. This church, however, has little to 
do with Jeanne d'Arc, on her first visit to 

M 2 



164 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

Blois. because she would not have been al- 
lowed time to wander across to this western hill, 
for there was a council to be held and much to 
set in order. She had, besides, to write to the 
English, summoning them to surrender, marking 
thus the peaceful character of her mission, which, 
as her own words tell us, was ' one of peace to 
men of goodwill.' Heralds were the great ord- 
nance of those days, so Bacon says, and the Maid 
especially wished to employ them thus, even though 
this wish might be misinterpreted by friend and 
foe. So she sent her letter, written at Poitiers 
on the 22nd of March, summoning the English 
leader to surrender Orleans to the Maid, who 
had been sent by God. It commenced thus : — 
' Duke of Bethfort, the Maid prays and requires 
of you that you should not destroy yourself.' If 
he agrees to surrender the place, she suggests 
that together they might do great deeds for 
Christendom, which is interpreted to mean a 
crusade against the Turks. Quicherat gives 
this and others of Jeanne's letters in full in 
his work. Perhaps the army thought it was her 
failino^ courao-e which caused her to insist on send- 
ing heralds to the enemy to beg them peacefully 
to cede their conquests. Her message was received 
with insult and derision. 

The time has come ; the blow has to be struck. 
The Maid has to witness for the God who sent 
her. Away with woman's natural fears. 

The work and council over, she goes to pray 
in the church and nerve herself for battle, for 



THE LOIRE. 165 

to-inorrow is to begin the great adventure of 
her life, for which she has been preparing for 
years ; yet a new experience and trial of her 
faith. 

We may presume there was a fine cathedral 
here on the present site close by the former 
castle, for at Blois, Astezan, the Duke of Or- 
leans' secretary, a contemporary of Jeanne's, 
admired an organ, the largest he had ever 
seen, having, so they said, fourteen hundred 
metal pipes (d'etain), of which some were so 
large that a man could pass through them. 
Such an organ could never have been built for 
the church of St. Nicolas. Another huger pipe 
and more ancient marvel is still to be found in 
Blois ; this is a subterranean aqueduct, called 
the Arou, and by the common people the Pont 
de Cesar, which traverses the town from end 
to end. It is so wide and so lofty that several 
persons can walk in it abreast. It is supposed 
to have been pierced through the solid rock by 
the Romans. 



166 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 

' En nom Dieu, le conseil de Messire est plus sur et plus sage que 
le votre. Vous m'avez cuide decevoir, et vous etes de^us vous-memes, 
car je vous amene le meilleur secours que eut oiicques chevalier, ville 
ou cite.' (' In God's name, the counsel of our Lord is more sure and 
more wise than your own. You have intended to deceive me, and 
you are deceived yourselves, for I bring you the best succour that 
any knight, town or city, ever had.') 

Jeanne d^Arc to the Bastard of Orleans. 

The Maid wished to march directly upon Orleans 
by the right bank of the Loire, on which the 
town is built ; but her chiefs, fearing the English 
strongholds, insisted upon taking the left bank, 
the side of La Sologne, leaving the river between 
their march and the principal strength of the 
enemy. Jeanne affirmed that the English would 
allow them to pass without attacking the convoy; 
a statement which the leaders could hardly be 
expected to act upon. They corresponded with 
Dunois, who commanded in Orleans itself, about 
the most prudent line of march, and, considering 
the south side of the river the least hazardous, 
they resolved upon this, and also upon concealing 
their resolution from Jeanne till the last moment. 



THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 167 

They deceived her, accordingly, as to the true 
position of Orleans. 

This was not easy, for of course she had in- 
quired its situation before this at Gien and else- 
where, and had thought about it. She was not 
a person to decline informing herself of facts ad- 
visable for her to know. Facts of this kind never 
clash with one's duty to God. But they did 
deceive her. A truthful nature does not readily 
suspect others of untruth, and to her ignorance 
the word of a knight or noble was sufficient to 
make her believe she had apprehended the fact 
wrongly. It was one of the many lessons they 
gave her in unfaith -, they did not corrupt her, 
but she learned contempt of their ways. 

The convoy crossed the bridge at Blois on 
Thursday, the 28th April. The army followed the 
convoy for its defence. Jean Chartier speaks of 
the ' grant force de buefz, mo u tons, vaches, pour- 
cheaulx,' &c., that were being driven on to victual 
Orleans. Jeanne led the march, the priests fol- 
lowed with the troops singing ' Veni Creator 
Spiritus.' 

The road by the river skirts the forest-land on 
the right for miles, part of what is now the beau- 
tiful oak forest of Boulogne, which breaks insen- 
sibly into the Pare de Chambord, passing the fine 
Chateau de Chambord, the Versailles of Touraine, 
which at a distance looks like an ornamental 
forest of chimneys, roofs, and dormer gables, with 
a tall stone lily rising proudly in the centre. 
The convoy marched safely along the level 



168 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

road, defended by the river on one side and by 
detachments of the army in front and rear, while 
strong bodies of troops scoured the forest roads 
to guard the slow-moving caravan from ambush 
and marauders, the Cosson river being too small 
for a defence of the convoy on this side. 

The forest now-a-days is one of those radiated 
labyrinths that all woodland pleasure-grounds be- 
come in France, focussed here and there by sign- 
posts, with dozens of names sticking out from them 
like wheel-spokes, not one of which names does a 
stranger know, and rays of straight road run 
from these round-points like the gathering of 
avenues at the Arc de I'Etoile in Paris. ' II n'y 
a pas a s'y tromper,' as everybody says, provided 
one knows the way, that is all that is necessary, 
for the names one is in search of, such as Cham- 
bord or St. Die, are not posted up, being too well 
knoAvn to the natives to need it. The cuckoo calls 
the echo repeatedly, women drive their tinkling 
herds through the forest glades, the song of birds 
is continuous, the paths are agreeably shaded, yet 
enlivened by numerous butterflies, the scent of 
pine-trees is delicious, the breeze refreshing, so 
that a walk here seems the most delightful of 
travelling when one hears it is only six kilometres 
to Chambord. 

One prolongs the pleasure by seeking parts of 
the forest bearing the wild aspect they had in 
1428. It is so heaven-bright above, yet the forest 
is so dim in ^ embalmed darkness,' that one goes 
on gleefully until one comes to a second sign -post 



THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 160 

with seven rays, and names unknown outside the 
forest. The verbal direction had been, ^ Take the 
road to the left, il n'y a pas a s'y tromper.' But 
was this left at the first or second sign -post ? It 
w^as the second to us coming from Mont, but was it 
so to the speakers coming from ^ Marie Leczinska,' 
the other way ? The roads are like a wheel, 
and there are three to the left ; now^ which, if 
any, is most to the left ? As in French politics, 
here we have gauche^ centre gauche^ and extreme 
gauche. The problem serves as a reason for sitting 
down to rest and enjoying the sense of bliss that 
a snatched pleasure in fine weather gives. A 
man with a game-bag passes. One might have 
waited for him the whole day. It was a chance 
if anyone might pass. We are to go straight on, 
and at the next sign-post turn ^ a votre gauche.' 
The man did not remember the name on the 
label, but it would be a gauche, and he explained 
the particular angle. It was marked six kilometres 
to Chambord ! Had the beauty of the glades really 
beguiled us so far out of our way? 

Here goes for another sign-post. Still six kilo- 
metres to Chambord ! On again. 'Yes, madame, 
it is the right road — il n'y a pas a s'y tromper. 
It is six kilometres to Chambord.' This was cer- 
tainly an enchanted forest ; another sign-post 
marked Chambord, six kilometres ! Such reiter- 
ations may become monotonous at the close of a 
day, but a true walker never grows tired before 
four or five o'clock, and now only one was 
sounding from the distant castle clock. There 



170 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

would be plenty of time to admire the views from 
the roofs and the central lantern with the great 
Bourbon lily, to go up and down the great 
double staircase of carved white stone, whose 
involved and interlacing spiral is such a puzzle 
to visitors, and to be dragged through the laby- 
rinth of upholstery, the four hundred and forty 
rooms that have weighed upon one's spirit since 
first hearing of them. In one of these rooms a 
great picture in needlework represents the vow 
of Louis Treize. On the right of the king is 
Jeanne d'Arc bearing her standard, on the left 
St. Michael presenting the banner of the Sacred 
Heart. This was worked in 1878 in cross-stitch 
by ladies, like the rest of the hangings of the 
room on which the deeds and faiths of the 
Bourbons are depicted on a ground of royal 
blue sprinkled with golden lilies. 

One re-emerges on the high-road by the Loire 
near the tall church of St. Die, a fishing village 
whence there is a delightful double ferry, between 
the broad detritus banks, across to Suevres. The 
tepid, sunshot Loire here teems with fish, small 
fish in shoals, and some big ones ; they cannot 
hide themselves, the water runs so clear. It is 
hot crossing the low cornlands by the Loire. 

Was it here that Jeanne first suspected that 
she had been deceived as to the side of the river 
on which Orleans was placed ? The deception 
vexed her greatly, because the leaders of the 
force were acting contrary to the counsel which 
she believed came to her from heaven. It was 



THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 171 

too late now to re-cross by the bridge at Blois, 
and ferries such as this at St. Die were unavail- 
able for an army. Beaugency was a stronghold 
of the English, and, until they should reach 
Orleans, there was no other bridge save the 
strongly-fortified one at Meung, which was also 
in the hands of the English. Perhaps she her- 
self tried the passage at this spot, to retrieve 
the unfortunate step that had been taken. This 
is very likely, as there has always been a fishing 
village here, which implies many boats. They 
have now quite a fleet of them, with tall narrow 
sails, and the men of St. Die are all more or less 
fishermen and sailors. 

The river looks so shallow here, besides, that it 
seems as if almost all the passage might have 
been made bv wadino;. Did she as leader, and the 

^ CD I 

most venturesome of the army, reconnoitre the 
passage and the road by Suevres beyond ? Being 
on horseback, she rode in advance of the convoy 
with its mules and drovers on foot, and waggons 
which moved still more slowly, and so she had 
ample time to look about her. It is always the 
slowest animals which determine the pace of a 
caravan. I ponder over Jeanne and her difficul- 
ties with the stubborn team she had now to 
drive, more violent in their temper than her cattle 
of former time, while sitting on a bridge over 
the mill-stream that lies between the Loire and 
Suevres. A herd of cows have come down to 
drink and wade ; the dog that guards them is 
enjoying himself in the stream where it is shaded 



172 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

by the alders. Here waddles down a convoy of 
ducklings. The stream is swarming in fish, perch 
and some good sizeable trout. Yes, thick with 
fish like gold-fish in a crowded globe. Here 
comes another fleet of bigger ducks, all dipping 
and gobbling. What a happy life it looks ! 
Jeanne, does it remind you of your own loved 
native rivers ? What are these large black flies, 
or moths, fluttering over the water, with blueish 
bodies? — or are they lustrous blue wings that 
glance so in the sunlight ? I cannot tell. There 
are myriads of these flies. These three poor 
little squeaking ducks have not yet found their 
brethren ; here they come squeaking back again. 
One might idle away time for ever toying with 
these country objects. Up and away again, 
unless we can get into the little romanesque 
church hereby. 

There is another larger church at Suevres, but 
this one interests me most. Jeanne d'Arc may 
have found here the sustaining power she needed. 
It was, unconsciously, a lesson to the army that 
Jeanne had not the miraculous power they cre- 
dited her with, founded on some coincidences of 
her words with after occurrences at Chinon and 
elsewhere. Had she immediate revelation she 
would have known which side of the river Or- 
leans was on, and they could not have deceived 
her. Human sense and knowledge were suffi- 
cient for this purpose ; these are never stultified 
by unnecessary revelation. Jeanne was not a 
very gullible person. She had the keen wit and 



THE MAID OL ORLEANS. 173 

business capacity of her nation, and their clear 
expression in words ; as Voltaire says, ' Ce qui 
n'est pas clair n'est pas Fran9ais,' but she had 
also the boundless capacity for belief in the 
hio^hest, which is characteristic of p:reat souls 
and warm hearts. It was only by repeated ex- 
perience that she learned to suspect treachery in 
the rulers of her people. 

Yet why did the river flow this way, and why 
were they marching against the sun, if they 
were really on the side of La Beauce, as her 
leaders had told her? It must have been difficult 
to choke back conviction. 

The convoy has had time to come up. Let 
us all move forward upon Orleans. 

They could not make the thirty-five and a half 
miles in one day encumbered by their convoy. Jol- 
lois says Jeanne's army arrived the third day be- 
fore Orleans; but this includes a detour, and they 
arrived early on the third morning. Wallon and 
others say she arrived on the 29th of April, the 
day after leaving Blois. The truth lies midway, 
perhaps ; the later portion of the convoy arriving 
after the vanguard. They hastened past Beau- 
gency, with its spire and tall massive tower of 
Julius Caesar, all splendid Avith the setting sun. 
This huge, square toAver is one hundred and 
fifteen feet high, and very broad. It is really 
of the tenth or eleventh century. Look at Tur- 
ner's view of it in the ' Rivers of France,' and 
see what a covetable place Beaugency was; for 
it is not materially altered, and Jeanne saAV the 



174 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

town across the river from about the point where 
Turner drew it. 

A road diverges near St. Laurent des Faux 
from the main road to Orleans towards the bridge 
of Beaugency, an old-fashioned structure of 
thirty-nine arches, and rejoins the main road 
near Lailly, about four miles further on. Doubt- 
less Jeanne would have taken this detour to 
guard her convoy against the probability of a 
sortie from the English garrison at Beaugency. 
See how its tall donjon dominates the fruit and 
corn land of La Beauce. Jeanne knew within 
herself that this strong place would soon be in 
her hands, for this was part of the promise ; but 
so far none else fully believed in her. She had 
given no sign, or none that could be universally 
recognised as such, though there were many 
floating rumours of her marvellous gift of pro- 
phecy. Yet some steps were gained, for she was 
nominally leader of an army : it is even said 
that Baudricourt, castellan of Vaucouleurs, also 
marched to Orleans with Jeanne. 

At a safe distance from the garrison of Beau- 
gency and the red castle of Meung, the army 
encamped in the open field, and were again early 
afoot. Jeanne was the first to be up, though 
tired and ill with having rested ' for the first 
time,' so Martin says, 'in all her armour upon 
the hard ground' (sur la dure). Others say she 
slept fully armed upon the ground during her 
journey from Vaucouleurs. [Axiom : When in 



THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 175 

doubt, follow Quicherat.] Again the truth lies 
midway, in an average of both statements. He 
says that in riding from Vaucouleurs, she wore 
and slept in the plain military dress of the time, 
now she was equipped in a suit of armour. 

On again with morning light, leaving the 
bridge of Meung well to the left, they passed 
close by the little town of Clery, not yet boast- 
ing its square and massive church of Notre Dame, 
so famous in the succeeding reign ; then again 
forgotten till revived by Walter Scott. The 
church of Clery had been destroyed by Salisbury 
last year, 1428. In the upper part of a modern- 
painted window in the present church of Notre 
Dame de Clery Jeanne d'Arc is represented lead- 
ing; the attack on the brido^e of Meuno^. 

Orleans is nine miles further yet. The way is 
pleasant and easy by the borders of the small 
river that flows parallel with the Loire for miles, 
as so many named and unnamed rivers do. The 
scenery is monotonous, which few people cared 
for at that time, any more than American settlers 
do now. They looked at the foreground, not at 
the distance. The Loire is invisible here until 
you come close upon its borders, but the western 
towers and slender central spire of Orleans, how 
near they look from this plain ! 

Now the decorations of the cathedral can be 
traced, and another tall church behind it, and 
other towers beyond the bridge ; and now one 
makes out the flying buttresses of the cathedral, 



176 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

soaring over a large city of roofs and chimneys, 
a heart led up to by arteries of road. This plain 
is now a populous suburb. 

The army did not follow the present high-road 
all the way to Orleans bridge, but branched off 
to the right about two miles beyond Clery, and 
gained Olivet (now famous for its cream cheeses), 
on the Roman road from Yierzon, not far from the 
source of the Loiret. This was just behind the 
English bastilles of the left bank. Then Jeanne 
knew for certain that her leaders had played upon 
her ignorance, and treated her as a child. She 
was indeed before Orleans, but divided from it 
by the Loire. At this moment of excitement 
the deception used towards her was too much. 
She was deeply angered ; she felt but too keenly 
how the belief which possessed her seemed like 
madness to others. It was impossible to force 
the bridge, though Jeanne would willingly have 
prepared the way by attacking the most westerly 
and isolated tower of St. Jean le Blanc ; but this 
project was overruled, and the convoy moved five 
miles further eastward towards LTle aux Bour- 
dons, beyond Checy, where they found it safer to 
embark the provisions and send them down 
again in boats to the eastern and least strongly 
defended side of Orleans. Boats could only be 
procured from Orleans itself, and it was a matter 
of great difficulty to send them up stream with 
a contrary wind and under the enemy's fire. 

' Are you the Bastard of Orleans T said Jeanne, 
when Dunois himself arrived from Orleans to 



THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 177 

consult with the rest upon the means of intro- 
ducing the provisions into the town. 

' Yes, and I am rejoiced at your arrival.' 

•Was it you who gave counsel that I should 
come by this side of the river, and not directly 
where lie Talbot and the English?' 

Dunois admitted that he and the most experi- 
enced leaders had advised this as safest and 
wisest. 

^En nom Dieu !' cried Jeanne. 'The council 
of Messire ' (God) ' is safer and wiser than yours. 
You thought to deceive me, and are yourselves 
deceived, for I bring you the best succour that 
ever knight, town, or city had : the help of the 
King of heaven. Who, at the prayer of St. Louis 
and Charlemagne, has had pity on the town of 
Orleans, and would not suffer His enemies to hold 
the body of the Duke of Orleans and his town.' 

As she spoke, the wind changed suddenly, and 
the boats were enabled to leave Orleans. They 
placed the corn and other provisions on board, and 
the ' beeves,' for Lent at Orleans had been perforce 
prolonged till now, and the flotilla re- descended 
the river and unloaded at the eastern gate. But 
they had not means suflicient to bring the army 
itself into the city, for the Loire was now too 
high and rapid to construct a bridge of boats here 
in the very face of the English. There was no 
other passage than the bridge of Blois, and ac- 
cordingly the army had no choice but to return 
to Blois and come back again by the road Jeanne 
originally recommended. 

N 



178 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

Dunois besouglit Jeanne herself to enter Or- 
leans that night with him to cheer the towns- 
people, who so longed for her presence ; but she 
was fearful that the captains might again betray 
her, and possibly not re-appear with the army, 
and she had promised to deliver Orleans, and not 
only to revictual it. The captains gave her their 
solemn promise to return, and she lent them her 
banner, under which they had been encouraged 
to enter on the campaign, with Pasquerel, her 
almoner, to carry it, and the priests who led their 
devotions. Then Jeanne, with Dunois, La Hire, 
and two hundred lances, descended the river by 
the right bank, having previously crossed over 
in the provision boats, and defended the convoy 
in the boats from an attack on that side. 

Saint Loup is situated on the right bank of the 
Loire, above Orleans. To understand what fol- 
lows, I must explain that the convoy having 
stopped on the left bank, opposite St. Loup, at a 
point called Port St. Loup, they went to fetch 
boats from Orleans to cross the river, o^oinc: round 
a large island that divides it at this place, and 
entering the town by the road leading to the 
Porte de Bourgogne. 

On this eastern side the English had only the 
bastille of St. Loup, and, in order that they might 
not fall upon the provisions, the townspeople 
assailed this fort with the courage and success of 
desperation ; the boats, thanks to this timely diver- 
sion, were safely unloaded, and Jeanne and her 
companions stayed near at hand in the fields by 



THE MAID OF ORLEANS, 179 

Checy till this was accomplished. She selected 
this point, Checy, in order to guard the Roman 
road, which was the only way a sortie could have 
been made by the English to attack the convoy; 
after which she rested some hours in the house of 
Gui de Cailly, a gentleman of RuUy, at some dis- 
tance to the north-east of Checy, before entering 
Orleans. 

At eight o'clock in the evening of the same 
day, Friday, 29th of April, she entered Orleans, 
having put on the Duke of Orleans' colours, 
whose city she had come to deliver : the huque, 
a sort of blouse of dark-green cloth, and the levite, 
a lonof flowinof-sleeved mantle of fine crimson 
Brussels cloth, lined with white satin, which she 
wore over her armour. Mounted on a milk-white 
horse, preceded by her own banner, and having 
on her left Dunois, richly accoutred, she headed 
a procession of the nobles and notables, and made 
by torchlight a triumphal entry into the town, 
accompanied by her brothers and her two guides 
from Lorraine. She was like moonlight to im- 
prisoned eyes. Her prestige was worth her whole 
army to Dunois. 

We are well acquainted with this illustrious 
man. It suffices here to remember that he was 
only created Count of Dunois on the 29th of July 
of this same year, 1429. Until then he had no 
other name than that of Bastard of Orleans — 
Bastardus Aurelianensis. ' Birth is the boast of 
the faineant.' Jeanne and Dunois had to make 
their own name, and where shall we find a name 

N 2 



180 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

more nobly won than tbat of the Maid of Orleans 
— more valiantly than that of the elder Dunois ? 
He was now twenty-seven, having been born in 
1402, the same year as Charles VII. 

The people welcomed Jeanne d'Arc as an angel 
of God, and followed her into the cathedral of St. 
Croix, there to return thanks to Almighty God, 
and thence to the house of Jacques Bouchier, the 
Duke of Orleans' treasurer, where she would be 
under the protection of his excellent wife. This was 
close to the Porte Renard, which no longer exists, 
though a remaining portion of the house is still cher- 
ished in Jeanne's name. Here she was sheltered on 
that first night of her arrival from a violent storm 
of thunder and lightning, which would have been 
terrific had it assailed her on the previous night 
in the open fields. There is little in the appear- 
ance of the house. No. 32, Rue clu Tabourg, to 
remind the visitor of Jeanne d'Arc, nor does the 
present cathedral resemble the one wherein Jeanne 
worshipped Him who had brought her so far. 

Fergusson says, ^ Orleans is the only first-class 
Gothic cathedral erected in Europe since the 
middle ages,' the original church having been 
destroyed by the Calvinists. The present cathe- 
dral was commenced in 1601 by Henri IV. 

The cathedral is handsome and purely flam- 
boyant, but it looks modern and unpoetical. It 
is plain inside, and, though like Chartres in plan, 
it appears low and too neat to be sublime. It 
has double aisles, certainly, but no mysterious 
entanglement of shadows, no colour, or none 



THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 181 

that is entrancing. [My first sight of Orleans 
cathedral was just after seeing Chartres; it is 
but fair to say this. On my third visit to Or- 
leans I liked it better.] There is, however, a 
fine effect on looking westwards, from the series 
of coloured chapels round the chevet, between 
the very tall lancet openings behind the high 
altar, through the nave to the western wheel 
window : a really grand arrangement of lines 
and masses. The church is clean, well-cushioned, 
and curtained and fitted up throughout for com- 
fortable piety, and — I do not enjoy upholstery in 
churches. The carving is mechanical and shoppy, 
as befits a cathedral made to order and furnished 
by — Gillow. No one would exhaust himself in 
rapture here, nor roll the eye in frenzy. The west 
front is fine, with its central door and lofty 
archways on either side, and three wheel win- 
dows placed evenly above, all alike, with columns 
uniform as a regiment, and a pair of steeples 
each of three storeys, and a gallery of arches ; 
fine, yes, but little inventive, perhaps. 

Orleans has been greatly altered even within 
the last ten years. The restorers, those house- 
maids of our towns, have been at work ; they 
found it picturesque, and they left it tidy and 
respectable, after the example of the cathedral. 
On my first visit, among other relics in what 
were the slums near Diana of Poitiers' house, I 
came upon an old wooden-fronted house in cross- 
barred work, which was in the act of being 
destroyed, and near it one tall, slender column 



182 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

of an ancient building. It looked spiritually 
light hovering above its own ruins. I seized 
both in a sketch before the fairy column fell. 
To-morrow had forgotten them. The society for 
the conservation of historical monuments dusts 
and takes care of the best of these relics, and leaves 
the rest as lumber to be swept away. The guide- 
books catalogue these remaining chattels. Let us 
see Orleans by the light that still burns ; though 
not even Agnes Sorel may be thought of in the 
Maid's own city. One historical possession of Orleans 
can never be forgotten — that is, its deliverance. 

Thus runs De Commines' monumental tribute 
to Henry V. of England and Agincourt : ' When 
God was weary of doing them (the English) good 
this wise king died at the wood of Vincennes, 
and his unwise (insense) son was crowned king 
of France and England.' He calls Harry of 
Agincourt 4e Roy Henry le Bel et tresuaillant.' 

We all know the story of Orleans and Patay, 
so it will not destroy the interest if we hear the 
English view of the reason for their defeat in 
Bedford's letter to Henry VI. 

' And alle thing then prospered for you, till 
the tyme of the Siege of Orleans, taken in hand, 
God knoweth by what advis. At the whiche 
tyme, after the adventure fallen to the persone of 
my cousin of Salysbury, whom God assoille, there 
felle, by the hand of God as it seemeth, a great 
strooke upon your peuple that was assembled there 
in grete nombre, caused in grete partie, as y 
trowe, of lakke of sadde beleve, and of unleve- 



THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 183 

fulle doubte, that they haclde of a disciple and 
lyme of the feende, called the Pucelle, that used 
fals enchantements and sorcerie. The which 
strooke and discomfiture not only lessed in grete 
partie the nombre of your peuple there, but as 
well withdrowe the courage of the remenant in 
merveillous wyse, and couraged your adverse 
partie and enemys to assemble them forthwith in 
nombre,' etc. 

So great was now the French enthusiasm that 
while formerly, as Dunois says, two hundred 
English could have put to flight more than eight 
hundred French, now four or five hundred 
soldiers dared to brave the whole English force. 
But they could not act successfully without Jeanne 
among them, for on the next day after her arrival, 
the 30th of April, the most impatient, under 
Florent d'lUiers, who had arrived on the 28th 
with four hundred men, charged the English and 
drove them to their bastille on the Paris road, 
but the French could not support their attack, 
and had to retire. 

Jeanne did not wish to fight until she had 
again summoned the English to retreat peace- 
ably, so she wrote a second letter, demanding 
also her previous herald, whom they retained 
prisoner. Again they replied with insults. They 
thought her an agent of Satan, and it was not 
the custom of the English to tremble before the 
fiend, but rather to defy him. It never occurred 
to the minds of that day to disbelieve in the 
agency of spiritual powers, and the remarkable 



1S4. FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

coincidence of event with her predictions con- 
firmed their belief in her ungodly power. 

Now she wished at once to fight and drive the 
enemy from Orleans, but Dunois would not attack 
them until the arrival of their own troops which 
were coming round from Blois ; and, to hasten their 
arrival, he rode off on Sunday morning, the 1st 
of May, to hurry them up. He passed proudly 
under the English forts, the Maid having esta- 
blished herself for his defence between the forts 
and the town : the English did not stir. Then 
she rode through the streets of Orleans to give 
her people confidence, saying, ' The Lord has sent 
me to succour the good town of Orleans.' She 
came near the Morin Cross, again inviting the 
garrison of the neighbouring fort to surrender it 
and return with their lives safe to England. They 
derided the idea of surrendering to a woman. The 
next day, Monday, she rode out and carefully 
inspected all the positions, followed by the people 
in great crowds, who showed no fear while under 
her protection. She returned to attend vespers 
in the cathedral. On Tuesday, the day of Holy 
Cross, assisting at the cathedral fete, she joined 
the grand procession with her captains, and when 
the aged men told her, ^ My daughter, the Eng- 
lish are strong and well-fortified ; it will be hard 
to drive them off,' she replied, ^ Nothing is im- 
possible to the power of God.' 

On this day contingents from Gien, Chateau 
Regnard, and Montargis all arrived, but from Blois, 
no one as yet. Dunois had good reason to go to 



THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 185 

meet the army, distrusting their movement if he 
were not there. Their departure was abeady in 
question on his arrival, for they were deliberating 
with the chancellor of France ! Dunois showed 
them that if the little army, gathered with so much 
difficulty and already reduced by two-thirds of its 
number — for it was melting away — were entirely 
dispersed, the town and the cause must fall. He 
carried the day, and they resolved to march to 
Orleans with fresh munitions, moving thither by the 
right bank as Jeanne had at first advised. On 
Wednesday, the 4th of May, hearing of their ap- 
proach, the Maid went forward about a league from 
Orleans with standards displayed, to meet her own 
sacred banner. The whole army passed under the 
strongest bastilles of the English in the manner of 
a procession, the priests chanting psalms, and 
leading their war-song, the Veni Creator Spiritus, 
the enemy seeming impotent before the Maid 
whom they had insulted. 

After dinner, Dunois came to tell the Maid that 
Fastolf was bringing up reinforcements of men 
and provisions for the English. She desired him 
to let her know when he arrived, and not to 
attack without her knowledge. Nevertheless the 
attack Avas rashly begun while she was resting. 
Awakening D'Aulon, her squire, to arm her in 
readiness for a call, they suddenly heard a great 
noise and a cry in the town that the French were 
being beaten. Hurriedly she sent her page for 
her horse, while she armed herself with the help 
of Madame Bouchier and her hostess's little 



J 86 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

daughter, Karlotte, and receiving her standard 
through the window, not waiting for it to be 
brought round to her, she rode rapidly by the 
main street towards the Burgundy gate, her horse's 
swift feet striking fire from the pavement. Here 
by her personal efforts she supported the attack 
so rashly begun, and they carried St. Loup, the 
strongest fort of the English, before nightfall. 

This success was celebrated in Orleans as the 
first act of deliverance. Jeanne, who had led 
the men to victory, reminded them Who was the 
author of it, and told her companions of the true 
conditions of the promised conquest. It was 
Ascension Day (May 5th), one of the most solemn 
festivals in France : Jeanne, who had never 
ceased to battle against vice and disorderly con- 
duct as their greatest enemies, and the obstacles to 
their triumph, commanded that no one should go 
out to fight to-morrow without confession, and 
she wrote a final letter to the foe desiring them 
to quit their forts and return home : ' otherwise,' 
she writes, ' I will make you such a hahu as shall 
be held in perpetual memory.' She sent no 
herald this time, as hers were retained by the 
enemy, but she took an arrow and tied her letter 
to it, and had it fired at the English with the cry, 
* Read it, there are news.' We know the rest of 
the great victory of the Maid, of how her captains 
disputed her advice, where, had they followed her 
plan, Orleans might have been delivered with 
little or no more bloodshed. Her ascendancy had 
not yet had time to work upon Dunois. We 



THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 187 

know how she at length prevailed, and how vali- 
antly she fought at the old bridge, which was a 
double one in those days, after the fashion of Loire 
bridges, and built a good deal higher up the river 
than the present bridge, with its centre planted 
upon an island. How she waved her banner and led 
her countrymen to glory, crying, ' Ne vous doubtez 
pas, la place est votre,' and was wounded in the 
fight, as she had predicted, but still they were not 
to fear, though her womanly tears flowed at the 
anguish of the wound in her neck. 

Her wound dressed with olive oil, she came to 
Dunois, who had fought like a paladin of old, as 
Froissart declares that a knight hath double 
courage at need, when animated by the looks and 
words of a beautiful and virtuous woman. She 
told him and his men to rest awhile, to eat and 
drink, although it was Friday, to gather strength. 
They did so, for they were subdued by her words 
and manner. 

' Now,' she said, ' return in the name of God to 
the assault, for the English will no longer have 
strength to defend themselves, but will be taken 
in their outworks and their towers.' 

She called for her horse and returned to the 
charge, after a private prayer, and, taking her 
banner from her squire, she told a gentleman to 
observe when the end of her pennon touched the 
rampart. 

' Jeanne, it touches the rampart !' he soon cried. 

' All is yours now. Enter therein,' she said ; 
and they scaled the walls at her word. Her sense 



188 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

of pain was lost ; filled with strength inspired by 
overwhelming emotion, she swept on with the 
rest, her banner still their vanguard. 

It was nightfall when the Tourelles were taken, 
and, after waiting to see all safe, the Maid re- 
entered Orleans by the quickly-repaired bridge, 
as she had threatened to do, while all the bells of 
Orleans saluted this fresh victory. 

* God knows with what joy she and her people 
were received,' says Perceval de Cagny. It was 
here that the brave Salisbury, whom De Com- 
mines calls the Comte de Salberi, was killed. 
[But why does De Commines here date the siege 
of Orleans 3rd November, 1428 ?] 

There are various accounts of the incidents of 
Friday and Saturday, according to which attack 
the witnesses were engaged in. Wallon follows 
the ' Chronique de la Pucelle.' Lebrun des Char- 
mettes relates the account which I epitomise. 
On the day after Ascension, Jeanne arrived eai4y 
before the tower of St. Jean le Blanc. The Eng- 
lish, having erected another very strong tower at 
the foot of the city bridge, the French made a 
bridge of boats across another arm of the Loire 
from an island. They passed over only to find 
the tower dismantled and abandoned by the 
enemy, who had retreated to a much larger and 
stronger tower, called Les Augustins, too strong 
for the French to attack. The French were re- 
treating in good order when the enemy sallied 
out on their rear. La Hire and the Maid, whose 
horses had been conveyed to them in boats, 



THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 189 

mounted and turned on the assailants so furiously 
as to drive them back to their citadel, into which 
two men, one a Frenchman (d'Aulon), the other 
a Spaniard, Alphonso de Partada, animated by a 
recent dispute respecting their valour, gained a 
passage, closely followed by their comrades, and 
the garrison was taken. 

How true it is what Captain Richard Burton 
says : ' In the days of European chivalry, battles 
were a system of well-fought duels.' It is inter- 
esting to follow up this short account with d'Au- 
lon's own version of it, given in evidence at 
Jeanne's trial. Being her squire, and always 
about her person, his word as relating to Jeanne 
is of great value. I have met with this account 
in no history of the siege. Quicherat gives it in 
full among the testimony in the trials. I have 
abridged it. 

D'Aulon says, a Basque came forward, when 
they had sounded the retreat, and the Lord de 
Villars, being fatigued with carrying Jeanne's 
standard (at Orleans), gave it to the Basque to 
carry, for that he knew the Basque to be a valiant 
man, and the beloved standard would be followed 
by the soldiery. He asked the Basque, if he en- 
tered on foot into the boulevart, whether he would 
follow, which the- Basque promised to do. Then 
he entered the ditch, and went to the foot of the 
boulevart, covering himself with his target for 
fear of stones, and left his companion on the other 
side, expecting to be followed closely. But when 
the Maid saw her banner in the hands of the 



190 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

Basque, she feared to lose it, seeing that he who 
carried it was entered into the said ditch. Came 
the Pucelle and grasped the banner by the end, 
so that he could not have it, crying, ' Ha ! 
mon estandart, mon estandart !' and brandished 
the standard so the 'ymaginacion ' of this witness 
was that it seemed like a sign to the others ; and 
then the speaker (d' Anion) cried, ' Ha, Basque, is 
this thy promise ?' Then the Basque tore the 
standard from the Maid's hands, went to the 
speaker carrying the standard ; then all those 
behind the Maid gathered up and rallied, and by 
si grant aspresse assailed the boulevart that in a 
short time the boulevart and bastille were taken 
(par eulx prins), and the French entered Orleans 
by the bridge. 

The Basque is the Alphonso de Partada of Le- 
brun's account, and d'Aulon, the deponent, he 
who led the attack. He, or De Villars, for the 
story is here somewhat confused, weary, gave the 
standard to the Basque, and fearing that evil 
should follow from the retreat, and the bastille, 
&c., remain in the enemy's hands, he imagined, if 
the banner were led before them, the men-at-arms 
would follow it from aifection, and they could 
thus gain the boulevart. 

D'Aulon seems always to have been fired by 
the Maid's enthusiasm. He says she was a very 
good Christian, and ' qu'elle devoit etre inspiree.' 

You may make an impostor, you cannot make 
a heroine ; she must be born as a poet must. 

It is hard before such deeds to keep strictly 



THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 191 

within topographical lines, to leave to other his- 
torians the pomp and circumstance and glow of 
battle, the excitement of war and enthusiasm, 
every word of whose language is poetry. It is 
hard to leave to others these adornments. My 
tale is stripped of these as it is of the flowers of 
love. I am not a battle-painter, and the siege 
of Orleans has been described by those who are 
able to depict such scenes. 

Near the end of the former bridge stands the 
Cross of the Pucelle, which marks the spot where 
the fight took place. A dirty, damp cellar is all 
that remains of the famous fort called Les Tour- 
elles, the taking of which was the principal feat 
of arms in the saving of Orleans, and this was 
achieved by Jeanne d'Arc herself. The ancient 
prediction was fulfilled, ' Quand les hommes 
auront tout perdu, une femme viendra tout 
sauver.' ('When men shall have lost all, a 
woman will come and save everything.') 

On Sunday morning, the 8th of May, the 
English retreated in good order from before 
Orleans and fell back upon Meung, and, their 
backs turned, the French, guided by Jeanne 
d'Arc, visited all the churches to return thanks 
to the Giver of Victory, improvising, as Wallon 
says, in the joy of triumph that procession which 
the Bishop of Orleans instituted soon afterwards, 
and which has been perpetuated from age to age 
in memory of the Maid of Orleans, the pious 
girl who, in the day of peril, saved her country. 
The Maid had shown her sign. 



192 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UAUC. 

To this day the statues of Jeanne d'Arc, from 
the semi- classical standing figure in bronze, by 
Gois, on the bridge, to the fine and feeling 
statue by the Princess Marie of Orleans in front 
of the Hotel de la Mairie near the cathedral, are all 
wreathed and illuminated during almost the whole 
of May in her honour. The Societe Agricole holds 
its fete and Orleans is gay with bunting by day 
and coloured lamps by night. Jeanne's eques- 
trian statue, by Foyatier, is garlanded with laurel 
and arbor-vitaB, the illuminations round the 
pedestal light up the story of her life, written 
there in bronze bas-reliefs. Flags wave in all the 
main streets, and arches and Venetian masts line 
the way to the railway station, which is surrounded 
by theatrical decorations of painted scenery. The 
shop- windows are full of souvenirs of the Maid, 
while of the newspapers describing the festival 
of the 8th of May soon not a single copy remains. 

There is at Orleans a museum of works of art 
executed in honour of the Maid, and objects 
connected with her history; among them is a 
portrait of Jeanne painted from the best authori- 
ties in the year 1581, but her best efiigj^ was the 
Maid of Orleans' monument on the bridge struck 
down by the cannon of the Calvinists in 1567. 
It was restored, and destroyed, this time entirely, 
in the great Revolution. 

The raising of the siege of Orleans was begun 
and finished within a week, and out of this three 
days, Sunday the 1st of May, Tuesday the 3rd, 
Holy Cross, and Thursday the 5th, the Feast of 



THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 193 

the Ascension, were consecrated to prayer. On 
Sunday the 8th the siege was raised. Jeanne 
left Orleans on the 9th of May, returning to 
Blois and Tours, whence she went to Loches to 
seek the king, to tell him the good news, and 
persuade him to go with her to Rheims to re- 
ceive his crown. How was she to know that 
the laziness of man, the vis inertia, is a power 
indeed, and one of the greatest ? It was not 
so often felt in those active days as we feel it 
now. 

Out in the fields again, a joyous, sparkling 
cavalcade, beaming with success with banners float- 
ing among the flowering hawthorn and guelde- 
roses which shelter the barley and young wheat, 
their steel reflected in the pools whitened with 
arrowhead and frogbit. The larks, fluttering up, 
joined their song of triumph. 

The bridges are now free across the Cher, no 
scouts need watch their road nor patrol their 
night camp ; they are among friends now. The 
trees are white with blossom, whose crops will 
not be wrenched from them by the stranger ; the 
warm yellow earth will be moistened by those 
heavy clouds for themselves and for their children. 
Now they mount the higher ground at Mont- 
bazon studded with fir-plantations and genista. 

How among these genista-covered commons one 
goes back into history's morning, and one's own 
school-days too, riding in fancy with Plantagenet. 
A railway now runs through these landscapes, 
but though one can see the outlines of the 





194 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

country and of history from the train, one fills 
it in best on horseback or on foot. 

They cross the Indre and follow its course in 
the shade of poplars filled with mistletoe. In the 
valley stands the old romanesque, two-storeyed 
tower and stone spire of Cormery ; the distance 
is purple-shadowed by the lowering clouds that 
enhance the emblazoned fields of crimson trefoil 
and blue vetch, the pink lucerne, and yellow en- 
closures full of sheep, all belted in by the purple 
zone of the horizon. To-day their land seems of 
a richer colour than ever. Their hearts have not 
been so light for many a long day. 

Past Reignac, and Chambourg with its high- 
tiled roofs, and then come the rock dwellings, and 
now the towers of Loches. It is the first time 
Jeanne has entered Loches ; at any rate, the first 
time she has been welcomed there as an honoured 
guest. All hearts are open to her now, though it 
is less her victory at Orleans than her ' strong 
faith and pure life which stamp her as the mes- 
senger of God.' 

Here Charles was staying. He received the 
victorious Maid with honours, and made her good 
cheer. Indeed, when she met Charles, he looked 
so glad the people thought he would have kissed 
her. But he did not follow her advice, which 
was made with her usual straightforwardness. 
This would have been to disarrange himself and 
put himself to inconvenience with his idle court ; 
who placed obstacles in the way of pushing the 
victory — who tried how not to do it. It was 



THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 195 

easier to argue than to act. They needed their 
little money for pleasanter purposes than to pay 
armies. They did not care to buy a kingdom : it 
seemed like a white elephant to some of them. 

How could they go to Rheims, they pleaded, leav- 
ing the enemy entrenched behind them in strong- 
holds on the Loire at Jargeau, Meung, and Beau- 
gency? Driven from Orleans, the English had 
strengthened themselves within these towns, and 
when the French captains, under the leadership of 
Dunois, taking advantage of the impression pro- 
duced by the name of Joan of Arc, sought to take 
Jargeau, they had to give up the enterprise. 

Then to assemble a sufficient following to ac- 
company the king to Rheims needed time, and 
how could this be better employed than in dis- 
lodging the English from their strong positions 
on the Loire ? Jeanne adopted the project, and 
the Duke of Alen9on was to join her in the 
campaign. 

This might take a long time ; at least, it was 
postponing indefinitely the evil day in which their 
own courtly persons would be called upon to pay. 
They had gained time, and could be comfortable 
under a distant prospect of restored royalty, 
which included its cares. Jeanne had taken the 
work in hand, let her finish it, and get the 
kingdom ready warmed and aired for them to 
enter upon, while they relished their good Vou- 
vray wine and gigot de Berri, to the sound of 
viols and rebecks, and roundels by Alain Chartier. 
They were not a romantic, nor a chivalrous set of 

o 2 



196 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

people, but amiable butterflies merely, who only 
asked to flutter merrily through life. Harold 
Skimpole the First was Charles the airy dauphin. 

Loches Castle is too serious a residence for such 
a feather-headed monarch. It is a far more 
picturesque place than Chinon, though not yet 
grim with the terrors Louis XL caused its strong 
castle and tall donjon to gape with, which give 
a shudder even now to the careless casual visitor 
to Loches. It was brighter, gayer in Charles the 
Dauphin's time, when the court occupied the 
more domestic palace that has since been convert- 
ed into the Sous-prefecture : a home-like place, 
softened further by imprints of the gentle Agnes 
Sorel, the patriot. La plus belle des belles, on 
whom for her kindness and charity even the 
sternest moralist must look charitably. 

The castle of Loches sets the seal on the horrors 
of the middle-ages. It is well-known as one of 
the flnest fortified castles in France. Its clifF-like 
height and prodigious strength make one quake 
while standing in the courtyard by the provision- 
well, all moss grown, that goes down deep into 
the subterraneans, and has or had an outlet in the 
town below. One enters twilighted dungeons, at 
whose loopholes weeds and blanched ivy-leaves, 
winding on long white stems, straggle in with a 
weary grace, wan with lost light. The finest sum- 
mer can only foster round these gleams of outer day 
some thread-like sprays of attenuated pale green 
foliage and half-developed flowers, still in their 
weakness a solace to the prisoner ; though his hand 



THE MAW OF ORLEANS. 197 

could not reach them, nor his lips kiss them, they 
told of Nature's sympathy. Here is Ludovic 
Sforza's strange, weirdly-pictured prison, a room 
with vaulted roof all painted over by himself with 
patterns and inscriptions, and his remembrance, in 
colossal outline^ of his own head as seen mirrored 
by daylight long ago. He did not willingly let 
himself die. This is his sundial ! to measure such 
sun as could reach him through an embrasure of 
wall seven metres thick, so the guide says ; though 
the castle walls generally are only eight feet thick ; 
this embrasure is deeper through the splay and 
copings outside and in, one cannot get at it to 
measure it through the seven ranges of gratings. 
To unused eyes it is a mockery of daylight, only 
a dim, ghastly twilight that the sundial measures. 
Poor wretch ; he existed here for ten years, and 
died of joy at hearing he was free. 

Here are Cardinal Balue's dungeon, his cage 
door, and other grisly sights, and ^# Wslj ^^^ 
ivnir -|- Ittttn,' an inscription traced by some un- 
known English prisoner at Loches. Did Jeanne 
d'Arc ever shudder in these castles with predictive 
sympathy ? Her friend, the Duke of Alen^on, 
was imprisoned here in 1456. 

Loches is a clean, pretty town, rising on a 
conical hill. It is highly picturesque, with its 
tall, romanesque belfry-tower, and its numerous 
portcuUised gates, from which its streets, lively 
with shops and attractive ' bits ' for the artist, 
slope upward to the donjon and the many- 
steepled church of St. Ours, an early romanesque 



198 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

building of marked peculiarities. It has a Roman 
altar in its porch, hollowed with a leaden basin 
for holy water. There are fine sculptures, for- 
merly coloured, round the portal. The octagonal 
stone spires are hollow within, forming pointed 
cupolas supported on pendentives. Two tiny 
low arches, just wide enough to squeeze oneself 
through, divide the aisles from the nave. The 
church has an apsular end, beneath which is a 
crypt, part of which is known as the prayer 
chapel of Louis XL 

Fergusson says of this church, with reference 
to the construction of domed roofs, ^At Loches, 
we find the pointed arch introduced evidently 
for this purpose, forming a class of roofs more 
like those of mosques in Cairo than any other 
buildings in Europe. The variety of form and 
perspective they afi'ord internally, and the char- 
acter and truthfulness they give to the roof, as 
seen from without, are such advantages that w^e 
cannot but regret that these two expedients of 
stone external roofs and domes were not adopted 
in Gothic' It was commenced by Geofi*rey Grise 
Gonelle, Count of Anjou, in 962, and continued 
by his son, Foulques Nerra. 

The king soon left Loches for St. Aignan, 
in Berri, accompanied by the Maid, who was 
again joyous so soon as they were in movement. 
Here, on the higher ground, there is fine air and 
windy blue sky, the ground is also blue with 
milkwort. Apple-trees line the road with rosy 
blossoms, fairer than the flags at Orleans, and 



THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 199 

these vine-trails are richer than those festoons. 
Here, too, Charles sees what all France might be, 
if it were only free and strongly defended ; for the 
country is well-farmed hereabout, and the corn 
(now in May) is in three stages of its growth, 
from the autumn and spring sowing ; the barley 
is in full ear, and the latest wheat just sprouting. 

The Maid, having the king's interest at heart, 
rode again to Selles, four leagues from St. Aignan, 
where the troops were to be reviewed for the 
campaign. It does not appear that Charles in- 
spected the army, though he rode with Gui de 
Laval to see the Maid on the 6th of June, just 
as she was setting oiF for Romorantin with a 
portion of the troops. The Maid was always the 
first to move. 

Gui de Laval, writing pleasantly to his mother 
and grandmother about the great fight of Or- 
leans, beginning, ' Mes tres redoutees dames et 
meres,' says of Jeanne's appearance and manner 
at court, ^ Et semble chose toute divine de son 
faict et de la voir et de I'ouir."^ Gui was the first 
Count de Laval of his family, and was by turn 
admiral and marshal of France. The ladies, driven 
from Laval by the English, lived at Vitre Castle, 
in Brittany. Anne de Laval, the grandmother, 
had been in her youth married to the famous Con- 
stable du Guesclin. Gui de Laval wrote from Ste. 
Katherine de Fierbois previously to this letter, 
written on the 8th of June, 1429, ' et fit laditte 

* And there seems something quite divine in her deeds, and in 
seeing and hearing her. 



200 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

Pucelle tres bonne chere a mon frere et a moy.' 
The Maid sends the aieule a ring, ' un bien petit 
anneau d'or ;' a trifle, she would willingly have 
sent more ' consider e votre recommendation.' 

The famous, or rather infamous, Gilles de Laval, 
Lord of Retz, Ingrande, and Chantoce (the original 
of the story of ' Bluebeard,' that same year Mar- 
shal of France, executed in 1440 for sorcery, 
aggravated by detestable crimes), also joined the 
Maid's army, on Wednesday, 8th of June, with 
the Duke of Alen9on, Dunois, and Gaucourt. 
They said the king himself meant to follow on 
the morrow, but he seems to have been hindered 
in some way. Perhaps the courtiers were afraid 
of Jeanne's personal ascendancy leading the king 
to battle, or perhaps even to Rheinis. The person 
who exercised most importunity always gained 
him over to his side, and it was chiefly La Tre- 
mouille who stood near him. The king dared not 
trust his own sense of right : perhaps he was 
deficient in this sense. 

In thinking of Charles, one has to make a good 
deal of allowance for his unfortunate bringing-up, 
by an evil mother and a mad father. It was 
lucky for him that they also neglected him. 

The Maid wished the queen to go to Rheims. 
It was discussed, and the queen wished it also. 
It hinged on a question of money probably. How- 
ever, the favourite. La Tremouille, wished her 
away, and the queen returned to Bourges. 



201 



CHAPTER X. 

A WONDERFUL WEEK JARGEAU AND PATAY. 

PuCELLE. Of all base passions, fear is most accursed. 

Command the conquest, Charles ; it shall be thine. 

Let Henry fret and all the world repine. 
Charles. Then on, my lords ; and France be fortunate. 

Shakespeare. 

A WONDERFUL week's work then began. On the 
9th of June, the little army had returned to 
Orleans, where the Maid was enthusiastically 
welcomed, and on Saturday, the 11th, she ad- 
vanced with her force towards Jargeau, some 
twelve miles from Orleans. 

Another joyous, hopeful march, for the victorious 
Maid was with the army, and in chief command. 
She had as her principal aide-de-camp her friend, 
the Duke of Alenfon, now free to fight for France. 
Taken prisoner at Verneuil, he obtained his 
liberty in 1427, leaving hostages for part of his 
ransom. He redeemed them by the sale of lands 
— and a loan from Charles VII. (?) some say a 
gift (!) The Duke of Bedford declared him quit, 
even from his faith and promise, on the 21st of 
May, 1429 : so that he could return to the king's 
service. There were no schemes of deception 
now towards Jeanne d'Arc, among her army at 



202 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

least, whatever wiles court intrigue might mesh 
around her. 

' Then was a time of colour, when the sunlight 
fell on glancing steel and floating banners.' All 
the picturesque of war; as Joshua Barnes says of 
Poitiers, ' then you might have beheld a most 
beautiful sight of fair harness, of shining steel, 
feathered crests of glittering helmets, and the 
rich embroidery of silken surcoats of arms, to- 
gether with golden standards, banners, and pen- 
nons gloriously moving in the air.' Leighton's 
fresco of the Industries of War pales before this 
picture. ' Their gorgeous heraldry and silken 
surcoats glittering to the midday sun,' r.s Southey 
hath it. The Maid with the mercurial tempera- 
ment of the Frenchwoman, or the artist, revelled 
in all this lustre on her glory, rejoicing yet more 
in the glowing warmth of her soldiery as in these 
battles a roused love of country sharpened their 
swords. Jeanne was too young and innocent, 
too womanly to conceal her satisfaction at all this 
pomp and brilliancy. Her transparent character 
reveals these natural instincts of vanity, and love 
of toys and trinkets, of finery and spangles, that is 
only subdued when custom has staled them to us. 
These touches of child-like nature seen through 
the hardness of her heroism are like the charming 
fibrous ramifications of moss in agate or in rock 
crystal, not blemishes but beauties. She could at 
once sacrifice these pleasures at duty's call, as 
she gave up her friends and animals, her home 
itself, at the call of the spiritual voice command- 
ing her to go forth. 



A WONDERFUL WEEK.—JARGEAU AND PATAY. 203 

Their route was by the left bank of the Loire, 
across the level country where a continuous 
village now lines the road to Jargeau. At San- 
dillon, twelve kilometres from Orleans, they were 
greeted by the villagers, who even now flock out 
to see who comes in the diligence, or any chance 
passing carriage, and nod a friendly welcome. A 
simple, happy peasantry who live their life and 
enjoy it, who understand, without learning it 
from lecturers on political economy, that a wood- 
stack is real property, a hedge of white roses a 
real luxury. Grass is to be had for the cutting 
by the old woman for her cow, sticks for her pick- 
ing to make her cooking-charcoal. No one 
destroys, all use and enjoy, and by the cross 
where the roads fork they think of Whose chil- 
dren they are. For social gathering they have 
the all-sorts shop, a miniature Army and Navy co- 
operative store, a country club giving opportuni- 
ty for the good-natured local gossip that is the 
mortar of society. In all, we know and hear and 
see, we feel how vastly difi*erent Paris is from 
France. 

At Darvoy stands the tall May-pole for the 
vine-dressers' festival. How happy life is here, 
with no machinery to hurry it on, making one 
civilized, rich, luxurious, troubled, in one's own 
despite. 

Objector. Yet the Bible seems to prophesy of 
machinery and exalt it, and symbolise the power 
of mind over matter in the vision of wheels 
within wheels. The spirit of the living creatures 
was in the wheels. 



204 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

Bejoinder. Bah, by your own reading, macKin- 
ery is a type merely of the subhmer meaning of 
this heavenly mechanism; a symbol of a move- 
ment, as the clock face images the mere time-beat 
of the solemn dance of the universe to the music 
of the spheres. Do not attempt flights ; let us 
not be as shuttlecocks which fly upwards only to 
drop down again. Look at what lies before us. 
In the trenched ground with vines planted at 
each side of the ridge, as the way is here — for vine- 
culture holds its local traditions as well as other 
arts — see the old woman among the vines, seem- 
ingly amusing herself : the toil is not hard even 
for her age. It is true Nature here does much 
for the people \ they need not trouble themselves 
to do much more than hope, gather in, and enjoy. 
See, too, a man stirring mortar; the fine white 
stone lies so temptingly to his hand that it is a 
pleasure to build with it. It is work, while it 
lasts, but not slavery, like the ten-hours daily 
grind in towns. They all have a smile and a 
word for the traveller as he passes (much more 
had their forefathers for Jeanne d'Arc, their saint 
and their deliverer). So far are they from the 
whirr of iron life, the traveller is at once their 
newspaper and their book of travel. Flowers 
grow by their doorsteps, where dust lies in towns 
in lieu of flowers. A month since they were 
great scented stocks, each plant as big as a flower- 
bed, which bloomed here ; I saw it so, a per- 
fumer's shop was nothing to it : now in June the 
air is spicy with pinks and roses. Money is such 



A WONDERFUL WEEK.— JARGEAU AND PATAl. 205 

a poor form of wealth : pleasantness is real 
property. Emptiness of joy is itself a great 
sorrow. As for the world, ' they lose it that do 
buy it with much care.' 

Objector. Are you inditing a new copy-book ? 

Bejoinder. A sardonic smile is no answer. 
Look around you. Are we better off than these 
people, or better in any way, though we read 
everything new as it comes out ? 

Objector. True ; but are they better or longer 
lived than we ? 

Eejoinder. They are healthier while they live, 
and less anxious. Our life is a battle wdth 
Nature ; theirs is peace and co-operation with 
her. Their wealth, like truth, springs out of the 
earth, and drops down like righteousness from 
heaven. Each year brings its increase, that best 
of interest, which God gives to the labourer 

Objector. And man takes from him for the 
capitalist. 

Rejoinder, In each year they can pay a cheer- 
ful tithe to the Wealth-giver (no earthly capitalist 
grasping his per centage), Whose benign influence 
they see ; helping their belief. Faith is harder 
for us, for we cannot see — some, alas ! cannot 
believe. They are content to live happily upon 
their labour ; they do not, like the greedy gentle- 
man farmer, expect to live luxuriously and lay 
by a fortune as well. 

Objector, The roads are good, and good roads 
are the foundation and proof of civilization. 

Rejoinder. Yet the swallows skim all the same 



206 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UAUC. 

and children leap and run. Still good roads are 
good things, and there you meet me. 

Objector. Yet railways are the pulses, as rivers 
are the nerves of a country. 

Bejoinder. Similes are poor stuiF. These roads 
are an inheritance from their forefathers ; they 
hand them down righteously to their children, 
with vineyards, windmills, wells, and other con- 
veniences. Anyway, it is a well-peopled country; 
the people do not care to leave it. 

Objector, If you like it so much, why don't 
you come and live here? It would cost you 
nothing ; you would turn a profit. 

Rejoinder. T have my reasons. 

Objector. Good ones, doubtless. 

Rejoinder. There is no end to wrangling raised 
on questions such as these. 

Objector. So let us agree to differ and travel 
on with Jeanne d'Arc. 

On she must go. Her king commands it, and 
she has put herself at his service. Albeit not to-day 
supported by direct commandment from above ; 
yet if she fail now all is lost : the patient past, 
the glory of Orleans, the promise of the future. 
She must not fail ; the strength of a host lies 
in her single will. Onward with the banner. 

Jargeau was then a small compact town, alto- 
gether a fortress, very strong, and resolutely held 
by the Earl of Suffolk with six or seven hundred 
picked men, provided with cannon. The Maid's 
force was seven thousand men ; yet, so used were 
they to tremble before the English, that on the 



A WONDERFUL WEEK.-JARGEAU AND PATAY. 207 

road many of Jeanne's soldiers wished to turn 
back on the report that Fastolf was coming to 
the help of Jargeau with a numerous troop. 
Many fled, and Jeanne only retained the waverers 
by affirming that God certainly led the enter- 
prise. She meant the large general enterprise of 
freeing France from the invader, of which this 
formed an episode. 

Jeanne meant to lodge her army in the sub- 
urbs for that night, but the common people, not 
the army, filled with the might of her presence, 
threw themselves into the moats and at once be- 
gan the attack, without waiting for her to direct 
them. They were repulsed by the English, when 
the Maid, taking her standard and coming among 
the army, restored their courage, and they were 
located in the suburbs, as she had intended. 

Jeanne, according to her custom, sent a herald 
to the besieged to bid them depart with their 
lives and their horses safe. ' En leur petite 
cotte,' that is to say, with nothing but the 
clothing worn beneath the armour. They de- 
manded a fortnight's truce. By this time suc- 
cours would have come. Jeanne said they must 
depart immediately, or the onset would begin ; 
and on the following morning, Sunday the 12th 
of June, at nine o'clock, the trumpets sounded, 
and she called to Alen9on, ' Forward to the 
assault, fair duke.' He thought it was too early 
to begin, but she replied, ^ Doubt nothing ; it is 
the hour when God pleases — we must work when 
God wills. Work, and God will work,' and she 



208 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

added, 'Ah! fair duke, dost thou fear? Thou 
knowest I have promised thy wife that thou 
shouldest return safe and sound.' 

In this very assault she was the means of 
saving his life. A catapult was pointed towards 
the spot where he stood. ' Retire/ she said, ' for 
here is an engine that will kill you.' He retired, 
and a minute afterwards the Lord of Lude was 
slain by it on the spot where the duke had stood. 
The English held firm for four hours (or till 
four p.m.) Jeanne and the Duke of Alen9on 
themselves descended into the ditch, and the Maid 
holding her banner, mounted a scaling ladder. 
The banner was captured, and Jeanne was struck 
and stunned by a stone which broke upon her 
helmet. She fell, but soon rose again, crying, 
' Up, friends, the English are condemned ; they are 
ours now. Be of good courage.' The French, 
emboldened, took the town, and Suffolk was 
made prisoner. What remains at Jargeau besides 
the history of that day ? 

The walls are levelled in many places, and the 
moat is filled up and planted in gardens, the 
town having spread beyond its former limits. 
It has now 2,358 inhabitants. I was being 
taken for a scamper round the place by a 
man of sixty-four, who well remembered the 
levelling of the old fortifications, when he was 
eight years old. We made the circuit of the 
old town, that is, of what was formerly within 
the fortifications. The rest he called ' the 
fiells.' 



WONDERFUL WEEK.— JARGEAU AND PATAY. 209 

' At the corner of the boulevard was a tower. 
The present street where the yard of the ''Hotel 
de la Boule d'Or " now is, was once within the 
fort : the wall was carried round where the op- 
posite houses now are ; their gardens are in the 
ditch.' The moat is tilled up. 'Here are the 
last remaining battlements. The wall was one 
metre thirty centimetres thick. This is the Porte 
de Berri.' Its square pillars remain. A chestnut 
promenade follows the line of the former ditch at 
this part. My friend in the blouse saw it filled up. 
' Je I'ai vu bouche, moi. There are subterranean 
passages under the avenue. Les couloirs existent.' 

'This is the church' — this at least I could see 
for myself. It has a square tower, with three 
small, round-headed windows at the top of each 
side — ' near the hospice and the ancient chapter- 
house of St. Vrin, demolished. A house here 
was the Tourelle des Vieilles prisons ' — now Rue 
des Vieilles prisons. ' This is the Rue de I'ancien 
Pont.' It Avas written up. ' The present suspen- 
sion bridge was built in 1834.' It is a long, lofty 
bridge, connecting the town with the railway. 
At Jargeau was formerly one of the many fortified 
(towered) bridges on the Loire. ' In Jeanne d' Arc's 
time ' (so the man in blue says) ' there was a 
bridge of seventeen arches in stone, one of the 
most ancient on the Loire, a stone's throw above 
the present bridge. It was destroyed in 1794.' 
His grandfather remembered it. ' You see the 
ditch is all planted. This is the Porte Neuve. 
The ancient passage under it exists. The place 

p 



210 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC, 

where Jeanne d'Arc was wounded ' (? struck down) 
Svas here at the angle of the boulevard Porte 
Madeleine. Ah, oui, madame, c'etait une bien 
brave femme. Elle se donnait pour la France : 
elle se devouait. The strono^est and oldest srate is 
ninety metres ' (one hundred yards) ' or so further 
on. Les couloirs existent. There is the tourelle, 
there was another tower formerly on the other 
side.' He saw it all at twelve years old, the 
year of his first communion ; he remembers it 
well. He used to play in the moat. 

The Inn of the Boule d'Or (a nice young couple 
keep it) is built over the ditch. The front gardens 
of the houses facing it are in what the man in blue 
called ' the fields.' The greater part of the present 
town of Jargeau Avas formerly faubourg. Flowers 
grow on the ancient wall, and tame rabbits are kept 
in the thickness of the arches. The quiet, gloomy, 
thick-Avalled streets give the idea of the interior of 
a fortress. The faubourg is more modern nnd cheer- 
ful. The women about here have wonderfully fine, 
rather fair hair. They look like a Gothic rather 
than a Gallic race. The girls have a naturally fresh- 
coloured complexion. The church is romanesque, 
with a small dog-tooth moulding round the south 
door, where I entered. It has round arches in- 
side, small, deep-set clerestory windows, and slabs 
of flat stone on the round columns supporting the 
round-arched vaulting. This, at least, has been 
unaltered since the siege of Jargeau. I dipped 
my fingers in the ancient holy-water stoup used by 
the Maid of Orleans, the heroine of Jargeau. 



A WONDERFUL WEEK.—JARGEAUANDPATAY. 211 

The taking of Jargeau was a great day for 
Jeanne, for she was the leader of the enterprise, 
and it was reckoned an especially strong place. 
Much of the success was due to her own personal 
courage and military skill. She rode back in 
triumph to Orleans, with the prisoners and tro- 
phies, on Monday, 13th of June, where she rallied 
her troops. On Wednesday, the 15th, she rode 
to Meung, and took the fortified bridge, leaving 
alone the capture of the toAvn for the present. This 
bridge opened up the road to her army, and she 
pushed on to Beaugency on the 16th. This town 
capitulated on Friday, the 17th. The English at 
Meung, knowing Beaugency had been given up, 
retired at once, with their garrison. 

A dispute between Alen9on and the Constable 
de Richemont, who wished to assist in the libera- 
tion of the realm, threatened to divide Jeanne's 
compact little army, and had nearly compromised 
their success at Beaugency. Jeanne mediated be- 
tween them, and offered to reconcile Richemont 
with the king, who hated him, perhaps chiefly 
because he was the personal enemy of La Tre- 
mouille, his chancellor and favourite. English 
reinforcements coming up, under Sir John Fastolf, 
gave greater weight to Jeanne's intercession, and 
Richemont and Alen9on fought side by side before 
Beaugency. Fastolf reached the spot too late to 
save Beaugency, whose garrison, conquered by 
the Maid at Orleans, retreated in good order upon 
Paris, under the command of Talbot, the Achilles 



of England. 



p 2 



212 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ABC. 

Jeanne followed the foe across the Beauce to 
Yanville, and the battle of Patay was fought on 
Saturday, the 18th of June, very near the site of the 
' Battle of Herrings ' fought near Artenay and Rou- 
vray in the early spring. How different were the for- 
tunes of France at this time ! The numbers engaged 
in this battle are differently given by different 
writers ; only this much is certain, Fastolf won 
himself eternal obloquy for his over-great pru- 
dence in this battle. Shakespeare's Talbot says, 
when tearing the garter from Fastolf's knee, 

* This dastard, at the battle of Patay, 
When but in all I was six thousand strong, 
And that the French were almost ten to one 
Before we met or that a stroke was given, 
Like to a trusty squire did run away ; 
In which assault we lost twelve hundred men, 
Myself and divers gentlemen beside 
Were there surprised and taken prisoners. 
Then j udge, great lords, if I have done amiss. 
Or whether that such cowards ought to wear 
This ornament of knighthood, yea or no.' 
Gloucester. — ' To say the truth, this fact was infamous 
And ill-beseeming any common man. 
Much more a knight, and a captain and a leader.' 

Talbot believed Jeanne's power was from be- 
neath ; his patriotism seemed to clash with hers, 
and he thought he defended himself better in 
fighting her than in hearkening to her. Like an 
awful reverberation, or earthquake roll, grimly 
sounded the ghastly charge of sorcery, that 
capital crime, the one unpardonable sin of the 
middle-ages. 

In the battle of Patay Monstrelet says, ^ Les 
Fran9ois moult de pres mirent pied a terre et 



A WONDERFUL WEEK— JARGEAU AND PATAY. 213 

descenclirent la plus grande partie de leurs 
chevaulx.' Hear, too, De Coinmines' reason for 
the practice. ' Divers lords fought on foot, for 
at that time among the Burgundians it was 
most honourable to fight in that manner among 
the archers, and there was always a large num- 
ber of these volunteers among them, to encourage 
the infantry and make them fight the better. 
They had learnt this custom from the English, 
when Duke Philip made war upon France, during 
his youth, for thirty-two years together without 
truce.' He adds this remark, ' But the greatest 
part of the burden of the war lay upon the 
English, who were powerful and rich, and gov- 
erned at that time by Henry V.' In these thirty- 
two years the English lessons of warfare had not 
been lost upon the French. We had trained 
them to fight us too well, and Jeanne and Dunois 
were persons well calculated to apply those lessons. 
Talbot was taken prisoner. ' It is the for- 
tune of war/ said he, gravely, to the young 
Duke of Alen9on. ' After Patay,' says Lenglet de 
Fresnoy, ' Jeanne presented to the king a captive 
hero, in himself a host, the renowned and for- 
midable Talbot.' Saintrailles, the captor of Tal- 
bot, had the generosity to send him back without 
ransom, Avhich Talbot some time afterwards 
returned by a similar service, so says Martin. 
Shakespeare, however, makes Talbot say, 

' The Duke of Bedford had a prisoner 
Call'd the brave Lord Ponton de Saintrailles ; 
For him 1 was exchanged and ransomed.' 



2U FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

On this or some other occasion after Pat ay 
Talbot was afterwards ransomed and created 
Earl of Shrewsbury. In 1443 he was killed 
when nearly eighty years of ag-e, with his son, 
Lord Lisle, at the battle of Chatillon. 

The Maid returned on Sunday morning from 
Patay to Orleans. A week only had elapsed, the 
campaign which the king had ordered upon the 
Loire was over, and the fortresses were in the king's 
hands. Li this life-sized game of chess the king was 
in check no longer ; the castles Avere taken, and 
Jeanne was the all-powerful queen. 

She attacked Jargeau on the 1 1th of June, 
took it on the 12th, and on the 13th was again 
at Orleans ; the bridge of Meung was taken on 
the 15th, on the 16th she was before Beaugency, 
it capitulated on the 17th. On the 18th was the 
battle of Patay. What a wonderful week ! Two 
sieges and a pitched battle, and the strong bridge 
of Meung taken, wdiich caused the evacuation of 
the town. The mere journeys over the country 
traversed is work enough to fill a week of great 
interest. Between Orleans and Patay one crosses 
part of La Beauce, teeming with fertility, a mono- 
tony of wealth ; a country widely diiFering from 
Jeanne's green Lorraine, that being pastoral, this 
entirely agricultural land. A broad level domi- 
nated by the vast height of Chartres cathedral. 
Truly it may be said of all this northern part of 
France that the mountains are entirely of man's 
making, and they give the feeling of the subHme 
in the same way as do the natural mountains of 



A WONDERFUL WEEK.—JARGEAUANDPATAY. 215 

other lands, by their intrinsic splendour and the 
far-reachino: views to be obtained from the sum- 
inits of both. 

What Avas once the forest of Orleans, haunted in 
geological ages by animals whose fossil remains in the 
fresh-water limestone tellus that they were gigantic 
quadruf)eds (Deinotherium), is now a great corn- 
land, intermingled with residue of forests, sloping 
upwards from the vineyards by the Loire. A vast 
expanse of corn, hay, clover, and lucerne, so wide 
that, standing at any point, one feels as on a 
variegated island in a lake of blue, the distance 
melting off everywhere into width like that of the 
ocean. A wide, exposed plain, almost treeless, 
dotted with hamlets and peasants' villages, each 
headed up by its little church of no particular 
style ; the teeming fields, the banks embroidered 
Avith spikes of dark-blue flowers, the fields of 
pink lucerne patterned over with hawkweed and 
white stars, the hawthorn hedges still white with 
bloom, and at intervals, dark upon the verge of 
the distance, a short line of wriggling elm-trees^ 
writhing skywards against the pressure of winds. 

In all this campaign Jeanne had shown a 
steadiness marvellous in one so lately risen to 
power. The rapid rise had not dizzied her brain, 
nor had the transition made her reel, which even 
heroes have not always been capable of bearing calm- 
ly. Charles XII. was possessed by mad chimeras of 
ambition. Napoleon rushed to Moscow from his new- 
made empire ; Jeanne kept steadily to her purpose, 
and did not enlars^e her horizon with her hiirher 



216 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

standpoint. Her enthusiasm was a gift laid on 
her from without ; it was no selfish ambition 
surging up from within, exciting her to extrava- 
gance. Her pure life proved her a child of God, 
and to children of God all things are possible. 
To make France brave again, this was what was 
needed, the current of enthusiasm from the heart 
of Jeanne d'Arc. 'To Rheims !' cried the croAvd, 
' electrisee.' 

Who could now doubt that Jeanne would lead 
her king to be crowned at Rheims ? None but 
those whom long, sad experience has convinced 
that lazy indifference is the greatest force on earth. 
An empty money-bag, besides, is a greater weight 
than a full one. ' R n'y a point de soulde,' writes 
Gui de Laval, that charming letter- writer and 
gossip. Yet the king had a good bargain in Jeanne. 
If Charles had recovered his realm by the help of 
James I., King of Scotland, a treaty which had been 
drawn up at Chinon, November 10th, 1428, would 
have obliged him to give James the duchy of 
Berri or the county of Evreux. Jeanne did it 
cheaper. A few jDleasant words and a war-horse 
or so sufficed to pay her. His friends relieved 
him for the most part even of her equipment. 
There exists an order given by Charles, Duke of 
Orleans, for paraphernalia for Jeanne d'Arc, about 
June, 1429, at the time when she rested at Orleans 
after Jargeau and Patay, to the value of thirteen 
golden crowns, of the weight of sixty-four to the 
mark. This costume was likewise made in the 
Duke of Orleans' colours. 



217 



CHAPTER XL 

THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. 

' Gentil Dauphin, ne teiiez plus tant et de si longs conseils, mais 
venez au plustot a Reims pour recevoir votre digne couronne.' 
(' Gentle Dauphin, do not hold so many and such long councils, but 
come at soonest to Rheims to receive your just crown,') 

Jeanne cCArc to Charles VIL 

The prestige of the English was broken : the 
French no longer dreaded the irresistible arehers 
of Cressy and Agincourt. But the secret of the 
Eno-lish weakness was that their councils were 
divided, and the king too young to fight for him- 
self. There was lack of Avill on France's side also. 
There was nothing now to hinder the coronation 
at Rheims but the vacillating weakness of Charles 
himself and the selhsh policy of his court. 

Jeanne was at Orleans ; the king was at La 
Tremouille's castle at SuUy-sur-Loire, kept care- 
fully out of the Avay of her personal influence. 
Nevertheless, Jeanne was bound to appear before 
him there to perform her engagement made with 
regard to Richemont. The king pardoned him 
at her intercession, but he refused to allow him 
to join the court in their journey to Rheims on 
account of La Tremouille, which displeased the 



218 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

Maid. La Tremouille was none the better satis- 
fied that people flocked to the camp, desiring to 
serve under the Maid at their own charges. He 
wished to be all-in-all to the king, and could not 
bear that gratitude should be due to others besides 
himself. 

Charles himself seemed to prefer being King of 
Bourges with La Tremouille than King of France 
by means of the Maid. It must have been dis- 
couraging to any ardent spirit to work with or 
fight for such a faineant king ; but Jeanne acted 
under the orders of the King of Kings, and hers 
was no self-asserting, common mind that took 
offence readily. Loyalty first, then patriotism, 
was the creed she had been brought up in, and 
she could not allow herself to believe that her 
king could be her country's enemy. To her he 
was Pater Patrise. Even the wise and learned 
Sismondi admits of her that she was ' impelled 
(rather than excited) by a thoughtful patriotism,' 
of which loyalty was the first principle. 

What most wearied the Maid was the hesitation 
of the king and his delays. She wept before him, 
and begged him not to doubt but that he would 
recover his kingdom. She followed him consecu- 
tively to St. Benoit-sur-Loire, where there was 
at that time a monastery, whose church is even 
now one of the oldest and finest in the depart- 
ment ; its portal is an assemblage of round arches 
and round columns, with sculptured romanesque 
capitals, forming a triple colonnade of great mag- 
nificence. Then on to Chateau-Neuf, also on the 



THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. 219 

ricrbt bank of the Loire, where there was then a line 
chateau, whose remains are still to be seen ; and to 
Sully, an old castle overhanging the river on the 
left bank. The English, when they invaded the 
Orleanais, in 1428, spared Sully, the lordship of 
La Tremouille, a fact which gave colour to the 
rumour that La Tremouille was bribed to keep 
the kins: in a state of inaction. But this condi- 
tion coincided too well with the natural disposi- 
tion of Charles ' the Victorious ' to have required 
much fosterino;. 

The contagious fervour of the army and the 
devotion of the Maid at first fired even Charles. 
It was decided that the troops should come from 
Orleans to Gien, where the king would join them 
from Sully, which is about ten miles from Gien. 
Jeanne, who never spared her labour, and who made 
light of exertion, returned to Orleans, to prepare 
everything for the march to Rheims. On Friday, 
the 24th June, she left Orleans, and arrived at 
Gien the same day (thirty-eight and a half miles), 
so eager were the troops, so devoted the Maid. 
But the wranglings at court Avere by no means 
at an end ; and, at length exasperated, Jeanne 
left the town on the 2Tth, and went out to dwell 
in the camp with the troops. 

This decisive measure made the sluggards 
move, and on the 29th of June (St. Peter's Day), 
the cavalcade set out for Rheims. All now was 
joy, the clang and stir of progress. They were 
moving towards achievement, as they rode for- 
ward in the brisk air of the common-land, odor- 



220 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'AUC. ■ 

OQS with thyme and the genista, trampling the 
flame-crest of the Plan tagenets, glimpsing among 
the openings of the pine and birch-forests, the 
broad, blue distance of their own reviving coun- 
try, girt by the silver ribbon of the Loire : the 
evening ride lighted by innumerable sparkle of 
fireflies and all the ' argent luxuries ' of night, 
the moon soaring ' passionately bright ' above. 

Even to-day there is not, across the wild coun- 
try of Puisaye, any direct communication be- 
tween Gien and Auxerre ; the difiicult bridle- 
paths by Avhich Jeanne had made her way in 
coming to the court, would have been impractic- 
able for a cavalcade. 'The king and Jeanne 
would probably,' says Walion, ' have taken the 
only high-road known to have existed in the 
middle-ages, the Orleans and Auxerre road pass- 
ing by Perrigny, Fleury, Laduz, SenaD, Scpaux, 
Villefranche, gaining Montargis by Chateau Re- 
nard.' Therefore he adds Montargis to Qui- 
cherat's itinerary. Possibly the army may have 
divided itself, and the main body may have taken 
the main road ; but, as it seems proved by the 
old chronicles that Jeanne herself took the path 
by Briare, the royal party may be held certainly 
to have followed the line of march sketched by 
Quicherat, who says distinctly that they made 
a feint of taking at first the road to Montargis, 
so that it might be thought they were marching 
upon Sens ; but they turned ofi* towards Auxerre. 
Jeanne halted at Briare on their road to Auxerre 
towards Rheims. The king followed her next day. 



THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. 221 

Jean Chartier says it was near Auxerre that 
Jeanne d'Arc broke the sword of Fierbois on the 
back of a 'fiUe perdue,' elsewhere he places the 
breaking of the sword some time after Patay. 
Lebrun says it was at Chateau Thierry ; Alencon, 
an ocular witness, puts it at St. Denis. I follow 
Alen9on. There is wide variation among the dif- 
ferent historians in matters of detail, but all the 
old chroniclers agree right well as to the principal 
facts. The chain of evidence is sj^lendid. 

They were not admitted at Auxerre, although 
the time-serving towspeople did not absolutely 
declare against Charles. Jeanne wished to take 
the town, an act of vigour which would doubtless 
have been successful, and saved much subsequent 
trouble. But La Tremouille, who, it is supposed, 
was bribed by the town, caused a truce to be 
granted, the burgesses promising ultimately to 
follow the example set them by Troyes, Chalons, 
and Rheims. They also provisioned the army — 
upon payment. 

We are not told if Jeanne entered Auxerre on 
this occasion ; perhaps she only looked up at 
France's peculiar architectural pride, the great 
wheel windows, from the camp at the distance, 
whence the city looks its best. But the fine 
neighbouring abbey of Pontigny may easily lay 
claim to a visit from her, even if she did not 
stay there during great part of the three days 
that the king wasted before Auxerre. This abbey 
is especially interesting to the English, from its 
possessing the relics of St. Edmund of Canter- 



222 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC, 

bury, and having been the retreat of Thomas a 
Becket, as well as from its great architectural 
beauty. It is externally plain, which is a char- 
acteristic of churches built by the Cistercian 
order, and it is said to be the only perfect church 
of that order remaining ; but its chevet of seven 
small bays, lighted by tall, lancet windows, is 
exquisitely beautiful. It is an unaltered build- 
ing of the middle of the twelfth century, in the 
severe Burgundian Gothic style. 

On leavino; Auxerre, the kino; went to St. Floren- 
tin, which Avas given up peaceably. From Pontigny 
it is only six miles to St. Florentin, which lies 
on the direct route from Auxerre to Troyes. It 
stands at the junction of the Armance and 
Arman9on. 

How fertile is this Burgundy, a glorious coun- 
try ! This is about the highest north latitude 
where maize can be grown to any advantage. 
There is great richness in all the crops, besides the 
famous vineyards, which of course are the chief 
wealth of the province. The numbers of mag- 
pies hereabout is a sore exercise to those Avho 
know an adage or a superstition connected with 
any and every unit of them. The country even 
in winter- time here looks green, fresh, and pleas- 
ingly varied ; especially delightful was it to an 
army that had just marched through the dark- 
ness of the then vast Forest of Morvan, which 
even now supplies Paris with fuel, which is 
transported dowm the Yonne and Seine in rafts 
of faggots. Brinon-l'Archeveque and St. Phal 



THE COnONATTON AT RHEIMS. 223 

stand also in the chronicle of their route as halting- 
places for refreshments. 

This leisurely travelling was different to Jeanne's 
former rapid ride. She had plenty of time to 
look about her, for not till the 5th of July did 
the royal army arrive before Troyes, then a larger 
city than now, if one may judge by the decrease 
in the population, now not quite twenty-six 
thousand. In Henri IV.'s reign it numbered 
sixty thousand. Here they likewise found the 
gates shut against the king. 

Jeanne had Avritten to the municipal authori- 
ties the evening before, inviting them to submit 
on pain of compulsion. They used insulting 
expressions concerning the Maid. The resolu- 
tions of the town were controlled by a garrison 
of iive or six hundred English and Burgundians ; 
but really the nobles of Troyes, as well as the 
town, had too much to fear from Charles. ' Their 
town had given the name to the famous treaty 
of exhereditation, and was the first subscribed to 
it.' This town did not even supply provisions to 
the army in the business-like manner of Auxerre, 
and the soldiers were thankful to find 2:reat 
beanfields outside Troyes, providing them where- 
with to thicken their soup. The price of pro- 
visions was high as in famine times, and Charles's 
purse was short. Fortunately there was abun- 
dance of green wheat and young beans. 

Friar Richard, an Augustine monk, famous for 
his preaching, was anxious to see this inspired 
Maid of Orleans, of whom he had heard so 



224 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

much, but he only dared approach her under 
shield of crossings and holy water. ' Approach 
boldly/ said the Maid. ^I shall not fly away.' 
Five days they waited more or less impatiently 
for the town to capitulate, and the leaders were 
for giving up the hope and retiring, when Jeanne, 
who had asked leave to capture the town in her 
own way, prepared for an assault, and took the 
place by the mere appearance of being in earnest. 
' Let them (the soldiers) only follow me and set 
hands to the work, for God wills that w^e help 
ourselves,' said Jeanne before Troyes. 

The 'Edinburgh Review' says that the small 
English garrison was overwhelmed at Troyes. 
Morally overwhelmed, I presume, as there was 
no bloodshed whatever on this occasion. 

On the 10th of July the king entered Troyes 
w^ith great pomp. Nine years before he had been 
here deprived of his birthright, now he was a 
king marching to his coronation. The garrison 
wished to carry off their prisoners as they marched 
out, as by treaty they were to carry away their 
property ; but Jeanne would by no means permit 
this form of traffic in human flesh, and the 
prisoners were set free. 

The Seine, dividing here into numerous branches, 
adds much to the beauty of the situation of 
Troyes; though seated in a plain, one's eyes are 
not pained by the usual monotonous reach of a 
level country. Above the brushwood clumps and 
alder thickets the tall poplars and lofty cathedral 
carry the eye upwards like the lines of a well- 



THE CORONA TION AT RHEIMS. ' 225 

composed picture ; the flying buttresses giving 
diagonals like mountain slopes. 

The description of a French town necessarily 
begins with the cathedral, and, if I have seemed 
to sow my book with churches, it is that there 
are so many of these in France, all interesting 
to the historian, if not delightful to the artist. 
Cathedrals are to French scenery much what 
trees are in an English landscape, what the sky 
is to Italy, or the temples to Greece. The French 
have always been great builders. A general view 
of France must necessarily comprise a series of 
architectural pictures. And if I dwell sometimes 
longer than seems consistent with my purpose, 
or in a way that seems irrelevant, on the con- 
dition of the peasantry, it is because they were 
especially Jeanne's brothers. The churches and 
the peasantry are the survivals of the middle- 
ages that she knew and fought for. 

Troyes cathedral was begun in 1206, and con- 
tinued steadily in building for more than three cen- 
turies; hence it is a fine study for the architectural 
historian and for him who compares a nation's 
glory with its art. Fine art is seldom the out- 
come of a nation's happiness, it symbolises rather 
its aspirations and its hopes. Three centuries 
of growing beauty were a fine school of architec- 
tural criticism for the people of Troyes, while the 
lesser churches would make the celebrity of a 
lesser town. Troyes cathedral is more than 
usual the history of the finest art of those three 
centuries, which, if not dark, we have been until 

Q 



1^26 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

lately accustomed to consider as twilighted ages. 
The interior is full of forest-like perspectives ; the 
roof, branched with Hemes, clustering into stars 
in its vaulting, with a delightful variety of group- 
ing, such as cannot be looked for in a one-idead 
cathedral, although the one idea may be noblest 
and carried highest. The tracery of the out- 
side gives the deepest impression of a succession 
of kings, and counts, and municipalities, each 
wishing to offer of their finest an oblation to the 
Almighty. It is of all cathedrals the most French 
and most loyal in its emblems, this expression 
culminating in the crown of fleur-de-lys at the 
coping of the roofs ; the tracery is flamboyant to 
that pitch of luxuriance whence the next step 
is towards decay. It is like a handsome woman 
who has just attained the zenith of her prime: 
people will now begin to talk of how beautiful she 
has been. 

Troyes is full of ' bits ' of architectural interest 
of a Prout-like character, timbered houses and 
carvings, iron-work and unrestored mediasvalism ; 
so that it bears the unprosperous aspect of an 
old-fashioned town a good deal out of repair. 
To many tastes, this makes it the more interest- 
ing, and it is much the more instructive. It is 
one of the few cities in France which did not 
lose its ancient character in the Revolution ; it 
is therefore worth the while of those who study 
comparative history to visit it. Troyes was built 
before the craze set in for well-drilled streets, and 
before everybody was educated in precisely the 



THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. '221 

same way : built in ages of self-reliance, one of 
the lost virtues which we are always talking 
about but never see. 

From Troyes the army moved on to Chalons 
by way of Arcis-sur-Aube and Bussy Littre, where 
we know Jeanne to have stopped on the 14th 
of July. Vitry-le-Francois is also said to have 
been on their route ; if so, this town must have 
come before Bussy Littre. Vitry-la-Ville would 
have been less of a circuit, and they might have 
taken this small town en zigzag between Bussy 
Littre and Chalons. 

They now came in sight of the spires of Chalons 
and the prettily- wooded borders of the Marne. 

At Chalons the army was submissively met by 
the notables, who had heard of the surrender of 
Troyes, and saw how the tide was setting. Here 
Jeanne had the joy of meeting folks from Dom- 
remy, her own kith, Jean Morel and Gerardin 
d'Epinal, formerly a Burgundian in politics. Here 
all were friends, for a home-friend is loved, what- 
ever his persuasion. Affection prevailed over 
astonishment at her celebrity, and greatness had 
not made her proud. They had long, familiar 
talk of people and of places, rekindling the em- 
bers of old associations, and to Gerardin (whose 
child she had held at the font) she confided that 
she feared but one thing — treachery. This glimpse 
shows us Jeanne's really lonely condition amidst 
all her triumph, how the heart ached for sym- 
pathy under the rich velvet robe ; for she now 
went splendidly arrayed : this was part of the 

q2 



228 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

king's pomp, and also it was politic, or held so, 
to enhance her consideration with the soldiery, 
who judge so much by outward appearance. Her 
own woman's nature, too, rejoiced in beautiful 
and becoming garments. 

Chalons-sur-Marne contains few objects of inter- 
est beyond the slender and many-pointed spires of 
Notre Dame, and the less elegant, but more ancient 
cathedral, which is of the heavier-columned roman- 
esque type : one descends three steps to enter it. 

The king and his army were lodged for the 
night in the town, and next day they continued 
their march, passing at six miles on the road the 
elegant little church of St. Mary of the Thorn, 
a miniature cathedral, commenced about 1329. 
It boasts one of the very few open-work spires 
in France. There are one or two of them in Nor- 
mandy. Having so few, the French rather over- 
rate them. Hazebrouck, near the Belgian frontier, 
has another of these much-cried-up spires ; well 
enough, certainly, but without novelty for us. T 
once walked eleven miles to look at it ; I would 
not do it again. 

St. Mary of the Thorn was built by an English- 
man named Patrick. He worked here about 1419, 
so that the church was exquisitely new when Jeanne 
passed by. It was begun a century earlier, and 
not finished till a century later; many lives 
were thrown into its building, but Patrick was 
the principal architect. Jeanne's friends from 
Domremy rode with her, doubtless, as we meet 
them again at Rheims, 



THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. 229 

An old MS. chronicle of the reign of Charles 
VIL, from 1422 to 1429, describes this part of 
Charles' journey. The spelling is modernised 
somewhat. ' Charles left Troyes, and took the 
road to Chalons, in Champagne. La Pucelle 
tousiours devant armee de toutes pieces ' (I won- 
der Charles Avas not ashamed to be behind a 
woman) ' et chevaucha tant qu'il vint devant 
Chalons. De Chalons il reprit le chemin pour 
aller a Rheims, et vint en Chastel nomme Sepe- 
saulx, a quatre lieues de Rheims. Apres diner 
sur le soir entra le Roy, lui et ses gens dans la 
ville, ou Jeanne la Pucelle etait fort regardee, et 
la vinrent les Dues de Bar et Lorraine ' (was it 
not all one duke ?) ' et le Seigneur de Commercy 
bien accompagnez de gens de guerre, eux oifrans 
son service. Le lendemain, qui fut le Dimanche, 
on ordonna que le Roy prendrait ou recevrait 
son digne Sacre, et toute la nuit fit-on diligence 
que tout fut prest au matin, et fut un cas bien 
merveilleux ; car on trouva dans la Cite toutes 
choses necessaires — le 17 Juillet, 1429, par les 
mains de I'archeveque Renaud de Chartres.' 
(' The Maid, always in front in complete armour, 
rode before him to Chalons. From Chalons he 
regained the road to go to Rheims, and came to 
a castle called Sepesaulx, four leagues from 
Rheims. After dinner in the evening, the king 
and his people entered the town, where Jeanne 
the Maid was much gazed at, and there came the 
Dukes of Bar and Lorraine and the Lord of Com- 
mercy, well accompanied by men-at-arms, offering 



230 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

their service. The next day. which was Sunday, 
they ordered that the king should take or re- 
ceive his worthy anointing, and they were dili- 
gent all night to have everything ready by the 
morning, this being a very extraordinary case ; 
they found in the city everything that was neces- 
sary — the 17th July, 1429, by the hands of the 
Archbishop Renaud de Chartres.') 

The sun w^as setting behind the full-leafecl trees 
and purple hills of the vale of Saulx, the young 
Marne glancing under the crescent moonlight from 
among her sedgy marshes, alder tufts, and aspens ; 
the same Marne that Jeanne knew so well as flow- 
ing through her own Vosges hills. Jeanne's heart, 
softened at the sight of her friends at Chalons, was 
touched anew by the sight of this familiar object. 
Nothing in Nature speaks to one so feelingly as 
does a river ; especially one's own beloved river. 
While Charles received the deputies of Rheims at 
Septsaulx, a castle belonging to the Archbishop of 
Rheims, Jeanne rode out seeking a place for 
the cavalcade to ford the river. She may have 
ridden to Wez-Thuisy to pioneer the path. Any 
way, we are told that she followed straight up 
the Vesle from Septsaulx to Sillery. The land- 
scape by these villages must have reminded her 
of home. It was no longer the superb Loire 
breaking its way among the detritus like an army 
through the country Avhich it ravages, but a clear 
green river peeping among leaves and woods, 
tenderly nurturing the juicy ground. The even- 
ing grew softer and lovelier at each minute, until 



THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. 231 

the mist, rising from the marshes (beyond the 
present canal-bridge), veiled the foreground, mak- 
ing more deeply purple the vineyards on the hill 
slopes. Some of the sweetest views paint them- 
selves on the memory in colour, and this is one 
of them ; one can conjure up the purples and the 
russet brown. Some scenes are remembered best 
in light and shade. 

The villao^es hereabout are built of sun-dried 
bricks, and there are fields of wheat and clover. 
At Sillery itself, the land of sparkling wines, 
there are no near vineyards ; they all lie on the 
slopes beyond the plain. From here there is a 
near cut into Rheims, pleasanter than the high- 
road or the rail, through the long straggling vil- 
lage of Taissy. This road by the Vesle is pretty, and 
gracefully embowered in its hedgerows, a delight- 
ful path to travel on. It joins the high-road near 
the caves of Goulet, the wine manufacturer, and 
one enters Rheims by way of the fine abbey- 
church of St. Remi. 

' St. Remi is the exception to the assertion that 
nothing remains of the round Gothic style within 
the limits of central France, of which Metz, Paris, 
Soissons, and Orleans are the capitals. It has 
been much altered ; it nevertheless retains the 
outlines of a vast and noble basilica of the early 
part of the eleventh century.' 

Even in archiepiscopal Rheims St. Remi's abbey 
commands especial attention ; it is a fine link of 
the chain which connects Roman antiquity with 
our day. Clovis and Clotilda founded this church. 



232 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

It has the romanesque, or rather. Norman, char- 
acter in its towers and elsewhere. In the chancel 
stand the fine elaborate Flemish-Italian tomb of 
St. Remi, and a rich silver chasse of relics. 

Although Chatillon, the governor of Rheims, 
was an obstinate Burgundian, yet Jeanne declared 
they would enter without drawing the sword. 
Indeed, at the news of the approach of the French, 
the Remois showed such disposition that Chatillon 
quitted the place. 

Jeanne had fulfilled her word, and brought her 
king in triumph to this city, where the kings of 
France are always crowned. This was the 16th 
of July. Five months ago she had left Dom- 
remy an obscure peasant ; now civilized Europe 
rang with her fame, and here, close by the crown- 
ing scene of triumph, at the inn of L'Ane Raye, 
now La Maison Rouge, Jeanne was folded in the 
arms of her father. What a moment for both ! 
L'Ane Raye (Zebra) has been altered, though 
it is still an old-fashioned inn. It must then have 
resembled those numerous wooden-fronted, over- 
hanging houses which still exist near the markets 
at Rheims, carved with Crusaders, foliage, and 
quaint animals (one a dog, or a lion, having its 
mouth wrenched open). L'Ane Raye, where 
Jacques d'Arc lodged, was kept by a widow, Alix 
Morian. The bill, amounting to twenty-four 
livres Parisis, was paid by the king. This inn 
was within a bow-shot of the archiepiscopal palace 
where Charles stayed, and where Jeanne herself 
was lodged. This is now a plain renaissance 



THE CORONATION AT HHEIMS. 233 

building, but i-t contains some internal arrange- 
ments of early date, a fine hall of the twelfth 
century, used for the banquet, and an elegant 
chapel with a Gothic crypt. Noel ! Noel ! re- 
sounded on all sides, and the hammering and 
noise of workmen. People were too busy or ex- 
cited to sleep much on that Saturday night. The 
cathedral must have reminded Jeanne of Toul, 
her first cathedral, and she had seen so many 
since then. But this was a glorified Toul. 

This city, where trams now run, and which 
reminds one of Brussels in its brilliant gas and 
electric lighting, has revived again after its mel- 
ancholy appearance when occupied by Prussian 
troops after the Franco-Prussian war. It is gay 
as its own flower-market, which is an ever-shifting 
scene of bright blossoming begonias, pinkdracasnas, 
and things most sweet and pretty — gay now as 
in Jeanne's time, when Rheims was bent on wel- 
coming her king. The busy market-place was 
bright with colours, even as it is at this day, when 
we still see eager faces bending over the heaps of 
various fruits or stufi^s and housekeeper's gear of 
every kind, shaded with blue or striped umbrellas, 
selecting just such artichokes and vegetables as I 
saw to-day at the Saturday's market, each busy pur- 
chaser a picture, with her gathering of comestibles 
for to-morrow and to-day. One lady struggling 
with a dozen lithe live black crawfish, others choos- 
ing among the great barnacled lobsters with their 
feelers all moving; women with frilled caps carrying 
live poultry, and fashionably-dressed young ladies 



284 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

carrying fancy baskets garnished with parsley and 
carrots, pretty as a beau-pot. 

It was more solemn in the cathedral square, in 
1429, for all the Avorkmen, with their scafFold-poles 
and the striped baudekin cloth for the procession ; 
the church dwarfs such objects to insignificance. 
There it stood, as now, the mighty cathedral 
warm with the golden light of evening, the sun 
smiting with starry blaze the outside of the great 
rose- window above the door, with its inscription, 
DEO OPTIMO MAXIMO. The workmen were 
busy draping the entrance with crimson cloth, the 
pigeons, wheeling about the lofty, slender-shafted 
toAvers, sought their nests in the shrine-work 
canopies of the kings above the higher great 
wheel- window. 

The clouds rolled back behind the building, 
the dangers were past, the sunshine was in front, 
the work was achieved ; now came the crown of 
glory, deathless fame. The cathedral flushed into 
the rose light of peace, and repose for France for 
four hundred years was gained at the price of 
martyrdom for Jeanne the Maid. The rich calm 
evening light rested on the warm, golden-toned 
sculptures of Notre Dame of Rheims. 

The grey deepened, the rose-hue became fainter 
and more lurid as the cathedral stood out cold, 
with but a faint flush on the grey masonr}^ : sha- 
dows from the opposite houses stretching up and 
up dimmed it from the ground, until an unearthly 
sublimity of dying daylight rested on the great 
niched archway of the western portal, now whitened 



THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. 235 

into a ghastly, corpse-like pallor, like fading 
faith, upon the towers above. Death seemed to 
set its seal upon the work. 

The w^orknien were all trooping home to sup 
and talk and rest awhile. There came an after- 
oiow. The rays of the sun's last reflections 
flashed blood-crimson on the rose-window above 
the central door, as in memory of those who fell 
in fight. The bloodshed was not wasted, the end 
was gained. France was delivered. The bells 
rang out a last joyous peal, the cooing of the 
doves ' died away in ardent mutterings,' and the 
city was wrapped in peace and thanksgiving. 

It was lovely to Jeanne d'Arc to think of sleep- 
ing under the shadow of this saintly thing, the 
scene of so much royal splendour and worship. 
It was the culmination of her life's hope. But 
could she sleep ? I doubt it. 

The young moon shines with Dian's own cres- 
cent of pure light, the Pleiades shed their sweet 
influence over the archiepiscopal palace where 
Jeanne dwells — Jeanne, the church's vassal. She 
owed obedience to the chancellor, Archbishop of 
Rheims, being a daughter of Domremy, Dompnus 
, Remigius. Charles Martel's Wain, that we call 
the Great Bear, beams on the further side of the 
cathedral. Sleep, Jeanne, if it be possible, sleep 
on ; but — your work is not yet finished. You 
have led your king to his earthly crown, your 
crown awaits you in glory. 

That evening and busy night were spent in 
preparation for the anointing which was to take 



236 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'AHC. 

place on the morrow, Sunday, July 17th, and the 
city was early astir. Besides the nine heavy 
strokes of the bells, which toll at intervals for the 
offices, there was all night the noise and bustle of 
relays of workmen. The sun rose crimson over 
the archiepiscopal palace, pouring its blessing on 
the head of the sovereign. Too fair a sunrise 
for the Maid, so ominous as morning red. The 
bell tolls loud again for early service, a troop 
of military, horse and foot, winds its way by the 
north side of the cathedral with fanfarons and 
drums. The pigeons are whirling about look- 
ing after their morning meal. The cortege of 
priests and high lay functionaries is gone in 
procession to the Abbey of St. Remi to fetch 
the Sainte Ampoule. 

Under their escort, the abbot, in full pontificals, 
carried it in solemn procession as far as the 
church of St. Denis, where the Archbishop of 
Rheims, at the head of the chapter, took it from his 
hands to place it on the high altar of the cathedral, 
under oath to return it safely to the abbey. At 
the foot of the altar stood the king, now knighted 
by the Duke of Alen9on, surrounded by the 
proxies or representatives of the twelve peers of 
the realm, six lay and six ecclesiastic, and sup- 
ported by his vassals and foreign nobles, headed 
by Rene, Duke of Bar and Lorraine, brother of 
the Queen of France. 

All was fulfilled according to ancient prescrip- 
tion, but there was one in attendance at the high 
altar concerning whose office there was no tra- 



THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. 237 

dition, standing like an angelic presence at the 
kino-'s side : the Maid of Orleans holdins^ her 
banner, which she said had shared the dangers, 
and now justly shared the glory. She was full 
of emotion. Perhaps in all that assembly no 
heart was so thankful as hers. Hear the old 
chronicler. 

'Et y estoit Jeanne la Pucelle tenant son 
estendard en sa main, laquelle en effet estoit cause 
dudit Sacre et Couronnement et de toute I'Assem- 
blee. Si fut rapportee et conduite ladite Saincte 
AmpouUe par les dessus dits jusques en ladite 
Abbaye ; et que eust veu ladite Pucelle accoler le 
Roy a genoulx par les jambes, et baiser le pied 
pleurant a chaudes larmes, en eust en pitie, et 
elle prouoquoit plusieurs a pleurer, en disant, 
" Gentil Roy, ores est execute le plaisir de Dieu 
qui vouloit que vinssiez a Rheims recevoir vostre 
digne Sacre en monstrant que vous estes vray 
Roy, et celuy auquel le Royaulme doibt appar- 
tenir." ' (' And there was Jeanne the Maid holding 
her standard in her hand, who in fact was the cause 
of the said Anointing and Crowning and of all the 
Assembly. And made to be brought and carried 
back the Holy Anointing Oil by the above-men- 
tioned as far as the said Abbey ; and the said Maid 
came and on her knees embraced the King by the 
legs, and kissed his feet, weeping hot tears, touch- 
ing to behold, and she provoked many to tears 
by saying, " Fair King, now is executed the pleas- 
ure of God who willed that you should come to 
Rheims to receive your just Anointing, showing 



238 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

that you are true King, and he to whom the 
Kingdom ought to belong." ') She calls him king 
now and no longer dauphin. 

The whole religion and bravery of France was 
for the moment personified in this young girl. The 
bells rang out proclaiming to the whole city and 
the country round the fact of the coronation and 
her great deed. 

The bells chimed, those bells among which she 
heard her Voices clearest, loudest, best. In the 
choral anthem of oblation, 2:rand soundino: as the 
trumpet bursts of Spanish organs, her fervid emo- 
tional piety realised the passionate longing of her 
youth to serve her country and her God. 

The service proceeds with quiring voices and 
organ peals, and solemn tones are drawn from the 
great bass-viols near the lectern. A priestly 
voice requires the coronation oath. The sun 
streams in from the jewelled clerestory windows 
on to the pavement, and the wondering people 
weeping for jo)^ The trumpets sounded ^ a faire 
fendre les murs de la cathedrale.' 

The dazzling gleam from the clerestory en- 
hances the intense depth of shade, clear shade, 
not blackness, in the roofs and upper parts of the 
church, which is one of the first things that strikes 
the stranger on entering Rheims cathedral. 

Tapestries line the aisles behind the tall cruci- 
form piers, each formed of a central shaft and four 
slender columns clustered round it. These ancient 
tapestries are delightfully harmonious, draping 
the walls with a soft green and red sumptuous- 



THE CORONATION AT REETMS. 239 

ness of aged, but not faded, colour. They illustrate 
biblical scenes from the creation onwards. Two 
pieces representing the Annunciation are especi- 
ally fine ; in one the Virgin is weaving a band of 
coloured tissue, richly patterned ; in the companion 
tapestry she is reading, while a company of angels 
descend and encompass her with their wings. 
Pheasants, partridges, flowers, hares, dogs, &c., 
are wrought in labyrinthine elaboration of design 
round the inscriptions on the lower borders of the 
tapestries. Two larger and more ancient tapestries 
at the western end of the church clothe the wall from 
the floor to the lofty triforium. These are more 
faded, and the design is almost too intricate to be 
decipherable, but they are evidently legends of 
the kings of France. In one that seems to be the 
legend of chasing the hind, there are the Frankish 
banners, emblazoned with three frogs. The other 
depicts St. Remi crowning Clovis. These dimmer 
hues of green and brown, and ancient grey, enhance 
the bright but delicate colours of the high-raised 
eastern window, which is divided from the still 
more aerial windows and light shafts of the 
vaulted Lady Chapel by the dark belt of the tri- 
forium gallery, in which the sculptures and 
columns stand out as a deep grey patterning on a 
ground of brown, so deepened as to be almost black. 
The sarcophagus of Jovinus, Roman prefect of 
Rheims, takes one back still earlier into the morn- 
ing of French history. This monument memorialises 
the defeat of the Alemanni in the 4th centurv. The 
tomb is of white marble, sculptured in bas-relief. 



240 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ABC. 

Another exquisite effect of light and colour 
occurs at the west end, where the great wheel- 
window is all crimson, purple, and other jew- 
elled colours ; below this is a range of saints 
and kings pictured in glorious light, for the new- 
crowned king to follow, if he will, to an eternity 
of glory : the lighted western wall, niched all 
over with saints and ancestors of his, culmi- 
nates in a focus of ideal beauty formed by the 
central ogival arch with its lesser wheel-window 
filled with softened blue and fainter pinks, paler, 
quainter, and more delicate, if less superb, than 
the coloured splendour above. 

The north side columns are all in lisfht, flooded 
with rays from the southern windows. 

The spectators of Charles VII.'s coronation 
standing on the steps in the chevet behind the high 
altar rails, must have seen from here the rays fall- 
ing from the south upon the beautiful enthusiastic 
face of the Maid of Orleans as she stood beside her 
king ; the flood of illumination filling all the 
scene, the rays falling especially on these two : 
the centre of that sumptuous assemblage of all 
that was most dazzling in France. Below the range 
of tall candlesticks at the foot of the high altar, 
amid the heralds, nobles, and foreign magnates, the 
banners, trumpets, and insignia, was held in place 
of honour that sacred banner which ^ shared the 
dangers ' of the war. Above these glancing forms 
rose the shaded colour of the clerestory and tri- 
forium arches, the blue-grey gloom in the lofty 
roof and the dim unillumined window above the 
great organ. 



THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. 241 

The sacred pageant is acted out ; at last rever- 
berate the fugal ' Amen ' intricacies, and echoing 
vocal music from more distant clergy, and a hearty 
cheer from the loyal crowd outside ; the silver 
voice of the saintly youth of France, in white 
dalmatics, and the rough-voiced people hail their 
consecrated king ; then nothing is left but the 
antiphonal chanting of the priests, for the pro- 
cession has swept in lordly fashion down the aisle, 
and the flood of brilliancy streams out of the 
great west door, into the dazzling blaze of outer 
day, scattering largesse ; the trumpets blare, the 
bells chime themselves to frenzy, and these things 
have passed into history, noAV perhaps never to 
be seen again. 

Over all Time's changes the cathedral exists 
benign, serene, shedding a holy influence upon the 
city. Careless of the pomp of kings, the pigeons coo 
among the sculptures outside, building their nests 
in the very bodies of the monstrous gurgoyles, in 
the huge leaden bull's head and the Behemoth, 
its fellow, and all the other sculptures which 
constituted the free libraries of those earlier days 
before these things were writ in light and colour 
on the jewelled glass. And Jeanne had now read 
all these sermons in stones. 

Fergusson says, ' The painted-glass style is a 
truer name ' (for the finest period of Gothic archi- 
tecture) ' than the pointed-arch style. Painted 
glass was the important formative principle of 
Gothic architecture.' And further he adds, 
' Here is the whole history of the Bible written 

R 



242 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

in hues of the rainbow by the earnest hand of 
faith.' 

What glass was internally, sculpture was 
without. 

' In a perfect cathedral of the thirteenth cen- 
tury the buttresses, pinnacles, even the gurgoyles, 
every coign of vantage tells its tale by some image 
or representation of some living thing, giving 
meaning and animation to the whole. The cathe- 
dral thus became an immense collection of sculp- 
tures, containing not only the history of the 
world as then known and understood, but also 
of an immense number of objects representing 
the art and science of the middle-ages. Thus 
the great cathedrals of Chartres and Rheims even 
now contain some five thousand figures.' The 
history of the world, its creation and redemption, 
are told, so Fergusson says, ' with a distinctness 
and at the same time with an earnestness almost 
impossible to surpass. The statues of the kings 
of France and other potentates carry on the 
thread of profane history to the period of the 
erection of the cathedral itself Interspersed 
with these, a whole system of moral philosophy 
as illustrated by the virtues and the vices, each 
represented by an appropriate symbol, and the 
reward or punishment its invariable accompani- 
ment. In other parts are shown all the arts of 
peace, every process of husbandry in its appro- 
priate season, and each manufacture or handicraft 
in all its principal forms. Over all these are seen 
the heavenly hosts, with saints, angels, and arch- 



THE CORONATION AT RHEIMS. 243 

angels. All this is so harmoniously contrived 
and so beautifully expressed that it becomes a 
question even now whether the sculpture of these 
cathedrals does not exceed the architecture.' 

Thus ornament was not without its meaning, 
which the unlettered poor could read as clearly 
as the learned could read Dante or the Fathers. 
The fli2)pant mind of our day cannot endure 
these things, it prefers pseudo-science, or, still 
more, the smart levity of the weekly press. We 
have given our people cheap newspapers and an 
unreadable art. ' In the middle-ages the sculp- 
ture, the painting, the music of the people were 
all found in the cathedrals, and there only.' With 
all our resources, we have hardly surpassed their 
arts, if indeed we have approached them. 

The importance of these things is why the 
churches and cathedrals figure so abundantly 
throughout mediaeval history. These were the 
crystallised facts of the time, the rest were the 
passing phantasmagoria bounded by each man's 
little life. The stones remain memorials of 
their soul-poAver to our day. Man's faith lifted 
him above himself, and he is immortalised in his 
work ; not by name always, but collectively with 
the body of working saints. 

The pageantry of kings and courts is soon 
forgotten like last year's flowers, but the memory 
of Jeanne d' Arc lives for ever. She had performed 
her promises to Charles, and for the reward he 
offered she asked that her birthplace should be for 
ever exempt from taxation. This would cheer 

K 2 



244 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

her poor people, for Domremy and Greux were 
charged with many dues to the crown of France. 
The news of this would be taken back by her 
father after the coronation, sealing her forgive- 
ness for having left her parents against their 
will, recognising a higher authority, loving God 
more than father or mother, as her Master did. 
She did not love her parents less than others do, 
but more, according to the deep capacity of her 
nature. Other daus^hters leave theirs for a hus- 
band, Jeanne only quitted hers at the call of her 
Redeemer. Her request was not much to grant, 
and Charles truly had not much to give ; his 
successors, who shared the benefit, would share 
this payment with him. 

It seems certain that Jeanne also made the request 
now to be permitted to return to her village home. 
Villaret, in his ' History of France,' says she im- 
plored to be let return home from Rheims. ' Mon 
fait,' said Jeanne, ' n'etaitqu'un ministere,' and this 
was over. All tradition agrees upon this point, 
though modern writers question it, and Martin, 
having a theory to support, denies it. The sight 
of her father caused a great longing to surge up 
in her breast to see all Avho were dear to her at 
home. Her kind uncle, Durand Laxart, too, was 
at Rheims, for we hear that Charles encouraged 
him to tell him over and again, in his homely way, 
the tale of his niece's journeys to Vaucouleurs. 
Doubtless Jeanne felt it would be sweet to return 
in all her fame to her people, to rest after her 
labours and live in peace with her honoured. 



THE CO ROTATION AT RHEIMS. 245 

though not yet ennobled family. That came 
later — in November. She had seen the vanity of 
courtly life, and could not reconcile herself to live 
at court. But Charles would not consent to part 
with his best weapon, he could not spare her 
who was worth an army to him. Besides, the 
coronation was far from being the term of the 
enterprise; it seemed now but the point of 
departure for the conquest. The crown was the 
earnest of the kin2:dom. So Jeanne remained 
obedient to her king. 

Amidst all this splendour and the adulation she 
received, she retained her simplicity and purity of 
manners. In the letter of three gentlemen of 
i\njou to Queen Yolande, written on the day of 
the consecration, they say, ' It was a fine thing to 
see the beautiful manners of the king and also of 
the Maid.' She was no mystic, her disposition 
was full of spirit and vivacity. She arrogated to 
herself no exclusive powers. The thing most 
miraculous about her was her skill in war, where 
her disposition of her pieces of artillery was 
especially admired ; but even this extraordinary 
quality was considerably due to keen sight, and a 
clear perception of what she meant to do pointed 
out the best way to do it ; while she was cool and 
self-possessed in battle, feeling herself only an 
instrument in the hand of God. • Yet she was no 
blind instrument. It is a fatal mistake to suppose 
that the Lord wishes a blind obedience. St. Paul 
says, ' I will pray with the understanding also.' 
' More light and fuller,' is our want. 



24:6 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

The great lesson her story reads to women in 
modern times is the true influence of womanhood. 
To us her purifying of the camp, and her testimony 
to the excellence of virtue in a licentious age, speak 
of the noblest warfare of all. How good and up- 
right must have been her own conduct when men 
dared not blaspheme in her presence, nor behave 
amiss ; not even the envious could slander her ; 
no man impeached her life. Yet she was only a 
poor village maiden, no high-born dame for 
chivalry to worship. Frank and open in speech, 
she w^as not presumptuous, though when she had 
won a certain rank and position she kept it with- 
out mock modesty. 

' No longer on Saint Denis will we cry, 
But Joan la Pucelle shall be France's saint ; 
Come in, and let us banquet royally, 
After this golden day of victory.' 



BOOK III. 

THE TRAGEDY. 



249 



CHAPTER XII. 

THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 

On lui demanda ce qu'elle airaait le plus, de sa banniere ou de 
son epee. ' J'aime quarante fois plus la banniere que Tepee.' Elle 
ajouta qu'elle portait sa banniere quand elle chargeait I'ennemi, pour 
eviter de tuer personne. ' Et je n'ai jamais tue personne,' dit elle. 
(They asked her which she loved most, her banner or her sword. ' I 
love forty times more the banner than the sword.' She added that 
she carried her banner when she charged the enemy, to avoid killing 
anyone. ' And I have never killed anyone,' she said.) 

They wrote the details of these events to the 
queen and to her mother, the queen-dowager of 
Sicily ; and, the coronation accomplished, the Maid 
and all the king's well-wishers desired that he 
would at once advance to claim his capital. 
Jeanne's task was performed, the king's efforts 
should now begin ; but the slothful sovereign, who 
dreaded the daily duties of government, forced 
the conquest into her hands to complete, while he 
sought only the pleasures of royalty. Who could 
expect God to help him who would not help him- 
self? He might as well have held a distaff as a 
sceptre. Bedford fully expected him at once to 
enter Paris, where he might have ' walked over 
the course ;' but he loitered in Champagne, seek- 
ing pleasure. Victor Hugo— in 'Notre Dame de 



250 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

Paris ' — speaks of a water-party whereat Guy 
Vertaut, boatman's minstrel at Rheims, played 
before King Charles VII. after his consecration, 
when he descended the Vesle river from Sillery to 
Muison, and Jeanne d'Arc was in the same boat. 
Yet it seemed not impolitic to remain four days 
at Rheims, receiving the homage of the great 
province of Champagne and, avoiding all appear- 
ance of haste and dread, performing all the cus- 
toms of a newly- anointed sovereign. He went, 
according to prescriptive usage, to the Abbey of 
St. Marcoul, at Corbeny, not far from Laon, to 
touch for the king's evil, leaving Rheims by the 
Porte de Mars, one of the four ancient Roman 
gates of which only this Porta Martis remains. 
It stands in a hollow, age having sunk it deeply 
in the ground, which has, however, been cleared 
away from its base. On this side of Rheims there 
are now well-planted boulevards and public- 
gardens, and, what would be a valuable institution 
in any town, a garden of instruction for horticul- 
ture and viticulture. The views by the canal and 
the Vesle river with its two bridsres are verv 
pleasing. It is highly probable that during the 
king's stay at St. Marcoul Jeanne d'Arc visited 
the high-seated and extremely beautiful cathedral 
at Laon, whose picturesque group of towers forms 
the chief feature of the surrounding landscape, 
but we have no record that she did so. The 
royal cortege next proceeded to the little fortified 
town of Vailly-sur-Aisne in the valley, where the 
notables of Soissons and Laon brouofht him the 



THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 



251 



keys of their towns. Jean Chartier says the 
king and his ' ost ' came from St. Marco ul to a 
town named Velli belonging to the Archbishop of 
Rheims, where he lodged one day and sent 
messengers to Laon. On the 23rd of July, he 
went four leagues onward to Soissons, where he 
received submissive deputations from Chateau 
Thierry, Crecy-en-Brie, Coulommiers, and Pro- 
vins. Nobles and people flocked to his standard, 
or rather to the Maid's, for they saw that victory 
followed her. Their road to Soissons was defend- 
ed by the friendly castle of Coucy, then held 
by Saintrailles for the captive Duke of Orleans, 
but they did not turn aside northward from Anisy 
to visit this famous feudal fortress. 

Jeanne made everything ready for further con- 
quests, for these easy submissions presented no 
solid basis of strength to the sovereignty. The 
English power had yet to be coped with, and that, 
driven to bay in its strongholds in the north, was 
a formidable obstacle to peace. The object was 
to divide their force, and to bring back the Bur- 
gundians to their allegiance. Jeanne took her 
measures for the completion of the conquest. On 
the very day of the coronation, she wrote to the 
Duke of Burgundy beseeching him to make peace 
with his own country. Shakespeare, who, against 
his will, cannot help putting eloquence into the 
mouth of the Pucelle, tells us how she pleaded 
with him. 

' Brave Burgundy, undoubted hope of France ! 
Stay, let thy humble handmaid speak to thee.' 



252 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

Bur. — ' Speak on ; but be not over- tedious.' 
PucELLE. — ' Look on thy country, look on fertile France, 
And see the cities and the towns defaced 
By wasting ruin of the cruel foe. 
As looks the mother on her lowly babe 
When death doth close his tender dying eyes, 
See, see the pining malady of France ; 
Behold the wounds, the most unnatural wounds. 
Which thou thyself hast given her woful breast. 
Oh, turn thy edged sword another way ; 
Strike those that hurt, and hurt not those that help. 
One drop of blood drawn from thy country's bosom 
Should grieve thee more than streams of foreign gore ; 
Return thee, therefore, with a flood of tears, 
And wash away thy country's stained spots.' 

BuK. — ' Either she hath bewitch'd me with her words. 
Or Nature makes me suddenly relent.' 

She then goes on diplomatically to show him how 
the English will use him as a tool and then cast 
him aside. This is poetry, not history, but tra- 
dition and a good deal of historical truth besides 
are embodied in Shakespeare. 

Jeanne's clear business capacity was so marked 
that, besides all the letter- writing and negotia- 
tions being left to her to do, she had to manage 
much or most of the business work of the cam- 
paign : victualling the army, and such-like matters. 
The military chest was in her hands, or rather in 
that of her brothers, who held it in deposit for 
her. The treasure was not large, according to 
our ideas of the cost of warfare ; but we are told 
later on that she held the sum of twelve thousand 
crowns for the purpose of providing for her 
troops. In these earlier and more prosperous 
times with Charles's army the sum would have 
been more considerable. 

All, all was joy ; they were at length moving 



THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 253 

upon Paris. Leaving aside the temptation to 
dally with easy conquests, the royal army again 
swept to the southward, nearing Paris as if in- 
tending gradually to hem in the capital. But 
their progress was too slow for success. At first 
it excited wonder and suspicion, next it allowed 
the enemy a breathing space and time to recover 
courage. The king, who arrived at Soissons on 
the 23rd, made no further movement for nearly 
a week, and did not reach Chateau Thierry till 
the 29th, his people waiting, meanwhile, in battle 
array, hoping the Duke of Bedford would fight 
them. At vespers the place surrendered without 
a blow, and the king lodged there till Monday the 
1st of August. 

Chatillon, the Burgundian governor of Rheims, 
who had fled to Chateau Thierry, did not attempt 
to hold the place a day after the king had made 
up his mind to take it. Still the court seemed 
disposed to linger, and, had Jeanne had much 
historical knowledge, she must have drawn a 
parallel, as she wandered impatient by the Marne 
and looked up at the ancient castle, not then in 
such a fragmentary condition as it is now, be- 
tween this inactive Charles and young Thierry, 
another of the faineant kings of France, for whom 
Charles Martel built this castle. Jeanne, with 
the five-crossed sword of Charles Martel in her 
hand, must have longed to strike the blow which 
the sovereign dared not deal nor look upon. I do 
not pretend to write the political history of the 
time, I only sketch the leading events in outline 



254 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

as they bear upon Jeanne's journej^s. When one 
has divested events of the policy and opinions 
that surround them, their clothes or draperies, 
there is little to be said but that a fact is a fact, 
and that a lazy man lives according to his nature. 

It seems as if the court cared more to soothe 
Jeanne's impatience than to fulfil her wishes, for 
from Chateau Thierry, on the 31st of July, is dated 
the formal exemption from tax of Domremy and 
Greux. Anything to delay a decisive movement. 
This want of plan increased immensely the diffi- 
culty of feeding and providing for the wants of 
an army. 

On the 1st of August the king went to Mont- 
mirail (en Brie). This, though south-eastward, did 
not appear a retrogade movement ; although no 
nearer Paris, still they were moving in a circle 
marching parallel with Paris. On Tuesday the 2nd 
they recrossed the Marne and were well-received 
at Provins, famous for its roses ; here they stayed 
till Friday. This moving oiF at a tangent be- 
trayed the secret wish and intention to return 
towards the Loire and its luxurious castles. Most 
historians blame La Tremouille exclusively for 
these delays ; but viewing Charles's dilatory char- 
acter as a whole, and remembering the trouble 
Agnes Sorel took later on to make a man of him, 
we may well believe the fault lay mainly with 
the king himself: though La Tremouille readily 
acquiesced in what suited his convenience. Charles 
wanted to have the kingdom Avon, by war or by 
treaty, he was indifferent which ; but his advisers 



THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 



255 



were to conduct the negotiations, and he was not 
to be troubled to fight the battles. 

These strategic movements gave Bedford time 
to look about him and assume the offensive. The 
Cardinal of Winchester's men, collected for a 
crusade, were eager to take the field against the 
'sorceress.' On the 4th of August, Bedford, his 
own recruits reinforced by this impetuous band, 
advanced to Melun by way of Corbeil, and seemed 
likely to cut off the king's retreat towards the 
south. The royal army abruptly left Provins on 
Friday the 5th, and went westward as far as the 
chateau of La Motte-de-Nangis (en Brie) to meet 
them ; but seeing no one, and hearing that Bed- 
ford had returned to Paris, the king again took 
the road towards the Loire. Bedford thought it 
more important to strengthen Paris than to pur- 
sue that unusual object, a flying conqueror. 

Tlie courtiers had already found the campaign 
long enough ; but they had to return, neverthe- 
less^ for Avhen Charles came to the bridge of Bray, 
where he intended crossing the Seine, he was 
again foiled by his own dilatoriness. The people 
of Bray appeared submissive, and the king put 
off crossing the river till the next day. The in- 
habitants of Bray had promised to surrender their 
town to the king, but they did not keep their 
word ; they let a detachment of English enter 
during the night, who occupied the town, and 
intercepted the passage of the Seine, and the 
courtiers did not care to fight their way. This 
incident rejoiced the Maid and the leaders of the 



256 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

royal army, who were very bitter at seeing their 
hopes of victory so recklessly flung aside. So 
they had to return to the plan of the Maid, who 
dates her reassuring letter to Rheiras, ' d'un logis 
sur champ, au chemin de Paris.' The king took 
the northward road by Provins, and on Sunday, 
7th August, he dined, supped, and slept at Cou- 
lommiers en Brie. We hear a good deal in the 
old chronicles of where he did these important 
things ; the diarists have so little else to tell. It 
reads like the ' Court Circular.' Narrowing his 
spiral round Paris, on the 10th the king was at 
Ferte-Milon ; on the 11th at Crepy-en-Valois ; on 
Friday, the 12th, he slept at Lagny-le-Sec ; on 
Saturday the army encamped all day near Dau- 
martin-en-Gonelle — easy journeys all, and the 
king was keeping an army week after week in the 
field, incurring all the expense of a campaign, 
and putting it to no profit. 

While the king thus went from Rheims to 
Daumartin, the Maid made much diligence to 
reduce many places to obedience. ' Many places 
were by her made French ' (faictes Fran9oises). 
She seems to have been everywhere, carrying 
victory in her hand. 

An anecdote related by Dunois gives us a few^ 
pleasant lights on the attitude of the army and 
the people towards Jeanne. When riding from 
La Ferte to Crepy-en-Valois, as the people ran 
towards them, crying, ' Noel !' Jeanne, who was 
riding on horseback between the Archbishop of 
Rheims and Dunois himself, exclaimed 



THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 



257 



' What good people ! I have never seen people 
so much rejoiced at the arrival of so noble a 
prince. Ah, might I be ha|)py enough to end 
my days and be buried in this earth !' 

' Oh, Jeanne,' said the archbishop, ' in what 
place do you believe you shall die ?' 

^ Where it shall please God,' she replied, ^for I 
am not assured of the time and place more than 
yourself. And I would that it pleased God, my 
Maker, that I might return now, quitting my 
arms, and go back to serve my father and mother 
by keeping their herds with my brothers and 
sister, who would, be rejoiced to see me.' 

Crepy-en-Valois is set in a country of alter- 
nately plain and wooded undulations, with no 
great interest or beauty save that of calm. It is 
only famous besides for the peace of Crepy be- 
tween Henry VIII. (of England) and Charles V., 
1544. The vegetation, seen by eyes that have 
lately viewed the richer central France, has lost 
its southern character with the vines and acacias, 
the growth is fresh and sweet, but it seems a 
shade darker than in the regions by the Loire. 
Murray does not even mention Crepy. No tourist 
goes there, yet there are some things to be seen. 
Entering by a pair of handsome Renaissance 
entrance-gate pillars without gates, one passes 
through this old-world, old-fashioned town, which 
reminds one of the most retired and least visited 
of the Belgian towns. ' The very houses seem 
asleep.' 

There are traces of long bygone days about 

s 



258 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

many of the buildings, and bits of old arches left 
in the walls of dwelling-houses, giving the idea of 
town-halls converted to domestic uses. There is 
the old bell-tower of St. Thomas, belonging to an 
interesting ruin. It is part of the west front of a 
former abbey-church, and what remains of an 
old pierced and crocketed spire, strongly but- 
tressed. Viewed towards the w^est front, one 
sees a lancet light set in a large circle, with four 
rosettes forming angles or spandrils. There are 
eight quatrefoils below this circle, then two 
more lancet windows and a rather small doorway 
below between them. On walking round by the 
north side towards the ruined east end, one per- 
ceives that this tower was indeed one of two 
western towers. The second has lost its spire 
and upper storey, but it was formerly the richer 
of the two. The nave of the building has disap- 
peared. At the other end of the town there 
are considerable remains, and nearly the whole of 
the surrounding w^alls of the castle, a portion of 
which is still inhabited. The walls are firmly 
buttressed, but do not look impregnable to men 
accustomed to Loches and Chinon, though a 
slanting bastion wall at the lowest part of the 
fortress, where the ground slo|)es off into the 
fields, is a fine, strong, smooth-surfaced fortifica- 
tion. The castle covers a wide extent of ground. 
The poets Shakespeare and Schiller both create 
an imaginary scene at this time of the Duke of 
Burgundy falling repentani: at his sovereign's 
feet ; it is pretty, but less astonishing than the 



THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 



259 



truth that he did nothmg of the kind, but only 
coquetted with his sense of patriotism. 

What made Charles so difficult to deal with 
Avas his indecision, a fault less common then than 
in our days, when the complexity of civilization 
renders decisiveness more difficult and more rare. 
It has been said of highly-educated persons, ' You 
cannot get them to come to a decision. They 
want always to inquire and to investigate, an^ 
they never come to a result.' They cannot see 
with ' half an eye ;' they know too much about the 
stereoscopic effect of binocular vision. Sir Arthur 
Helps says, ' There is a great reason for thinking 
that of all the qualities which are needful for the 
wise conduct of human life, decisiveness is the one 
which can least afford to lie dormant. It soon 
dies away by inanition, if not exercised. More- 
over, it is very questionable whether it can be 
revived.' Indecision should be used as a weapon 
when all others have failed : when nothing can be 
done, wait ; a chance may turn up and point out 
an opening — seize it swiftly. 

The kino:'s indecision lost him his chance of 
gaining his capital without a pitched battle. 
Though Bedford was alarmed at the northward 
movement, still he wrote in insulting terms to 
Charles offering him battle. The king refrained 
— of course — and Bedford returned to Paris for 
reinforcements. Bedford had too much to lose ; 
he could not afford to be rash. The party which 
held Paris was virtually the sovereign of France, 
and De Conmiines says Bedford resided at Paris 

s2 



260 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'AUC. 

as Regent of France, and had twenty thousand 
crowns a month, at least, to support the grandeur 
and dignity of his office. This income was drawn 
from France, and the English side possessing it, 
naturally made Charles so much the poorer. 
Bedford took up his position beyond Senlis 
on the evening of the 14th of August. After 
some skirmishing the French drew up at the 
village of Baron, near Montepilloy (Mont Espilloi 
or Mont Piloer, as the old writers spell it), 
about two leagues from Senlis, where the Maid 
and the captains, and six or seven thousand com- 
batants, were lodged at vespers under a hedge in 
the fields. The church of Baron dates from the 
thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries. It has one 
of the rare pierced and crocketed spires. It is 
supposed that in this church Jeanne took the 
communion with the Dukes of Clermont and 
Alen9on. 

The next day, notwithstanding it was the great 
festival of the Assumption, the 15th of August, 
the armies joined in battle; but the English, 
numbering eight to ten thousand, remaining in- 
trenched in their position, gave the action more 
the aspect of a siege. The Maid could only pro- 
voke them to several obstinate skirmishes. La 
Tremouille himself showed much personal courage 
in the fray, charging the enemy, lance in rest ; 
but his horse fell and flung him among the Eng- 
lish, from whence his friends extricated him with 
difficulty. The king, seeing the English were 
not to be driven from their intrenchments, return- 



THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 261 

ed that evening to Crepy. The Maid, the Duke 
of Alencon, Dunois, La Hire, and their army 
passed the night on the field of battle, a fact 
which generally argues victory, but this engage- 
ment decided nothing. Early next morning, to 
try if the enemy, seeing them less numerous, 
would venture to follow them, the French retired 
to Montepilloy. The English only profited by 
this movement to retreat at their ease. Towards 
one o'clock the Maid was informed that they had 
regained Senlis, and were marching towards Paris. 
It was too late to follow them, so she rejoined the 
king at Crepy. 

If the numbers are correctly given by the old 
historians, this indecisive action shows more than 
anything else the terror the Maid's presence in- 
spired in the enemy. 

Compiegne and Beauvais received Charles's 
heralds gladly, and at Beauvais the people sang 
'Te Deuin lau damns ' to the great displeasure of 
the Count-bishop Pierre Cauchon. The people 
proclaimed that all who would not submit to King 
Charles might go away and take their goods ; but 
Cauchon could not carry oiF his county and 
bishopric. He preserved his hatred, as Wallon 
says. It was felt to the Maid's cost later. He 
henceforth follows Jeanne like an evil genius, 
sowing the tares of a cruel suspicion around her. 

On the 17th, the king received the keys of 
Compiegne, an important stronghold, whither he 
went next day, and was received with effusion. 
Here he also heard of the submission of Senlis. 



262 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

Loyalty was closely hemming in the capital. It 
seemed they had but to march thither. But this 
entailed personal fatigue, the weather was hot, 
and the courtiers felt they had a right to grum- 
ble. Had not the indefatigable Maid insisted, 
they would not even have ridden to Compiegne. 

The fortified side of the town of Crepy slopes into 
a narrow valley with dells formed of deep quarries. 
Into this leafy vale the glittering cavalcade descend- 
ed with their banners and bright armour ; Jeanne 
in the centre of the troops, brilliant, alert, and in 
dazzling array. They rode through the sylvan 
country like a hunting-party, with all the bril- 
liancy of war brought into festive relief. This 
was the side of war that Charles loved best to 
look upon, and it was necessary to coax him into 
good humour. The aspect of this district between 
the Aisne and the Oise is agreeably diversified, it 
looks like the broad sweeps of landscape of golden 
harvest meltins: off into blue distance that we see 
in Vicat Cole's pictures. Forests spread away 
deep into the blue, and the wooden crossbar- 
fronted dwelling-houses are set in a jewellery of 
flowers. They crossed the Aisne (by a ford?) 
and arrived at Compiegne on the Oise after an 
easy ride of about fifteen miles. Alas ! they were 
still sixty miles away from Paris ! 

The bridge at Compiegne was then lower down 
the river than it is now, but this makes little 
difi^erence to the aspect of the town, whose Hotel 
de Ville, with the effigy of a king on horseback, 
like that at Blois Castle, and whose decorated 



THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 263 

Gothic church of St. Jacques, stand ahnost un- 
altered since Charles's time, with the town gather- 
ed on the hill around them. The bourg of Com- 
piegne was enriched (manured) by inundations. 

The most changed object is the chateau, which, 
from having been a strong castle, is now a modern 
palace built in the time and style of Louis XV., 
altered by the Napoleons for a hunting palace, with 
a broad margin for state pageantry. These Louis 
XIV. and XV. palaces lend themselves well to pomp. 
With modern splendour of palatial frontage and 
wide pavement, it has the modern inconveni- 
ences of exposed, unbroken surface, biting bleak 
in winter, fiercely hot in summer, with heat of 
radiation from the flag-stones sufficient to cook 
a dinner. This enhances the charm of that 
modern revival of the most ancient luxury, a 
garden, with long glades of grass surrounded by 
woods fadino; off evanescent into the blue dis- 
tance, wave upon wave of foliage, filled with an 
orchestra of birds : forests beloved of French 
monarchs from Clovis to Napoleon IIL 

Here at Compiegne they saw return their own 
ambassador to the Duke of Burgundy, soon fol- 
lowed by an envoy from the duke himself. The 
fifteen days' truce agreed upon before Burgundy 
should cause Paris to be delivered to the kino: 
was ending. Nobody had credited this promise, 
however, and they now spoke of a general peace, 
and prepared a truce to last till Christmas. 

Meanwhile the Duke of Burgundy proposed to 
receive Compiegne itself from the king, a town 



261 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

which was justly regarded as the key of Picardy 
on the Burgundian (Flemish) side. The Romans 
called it Compendium, because they kept their 
military stores there. But there came no sub- 
mission from Paris. 

The king remained five days at Compiegne 
receiving the submission of all the neighbouring 
towns. All Picardy was ready to join him. 
Henry V. had been King of France, Henry VI. 
seemed king only of the Isle of France. Charles 
was flattered by the semblance of sovereignty, 
but the hiofh-minded Maid reo:retted to see that 
in receiving the submission of these lesser towns 
he neglected the capital city, which was the 
symbol of possession of the entire kingdom. So 
long as Bedford held it, Henry was King of 
France. She took a step on her own responsi- 
bility to allure Charles from his false tranquillity. 
She said to Alencon, ' Fair duke, make ready 
your people and those of the other captains ; I 
will see Paris from nearer than I have yet seen 
it.' So on Tuesday, the 23rd of August (Lebrun 
says the 22nd), the Maid and the Duke of Alencon 
left Compiegne with a numerous following of men- 
at-arms. As she was mounting her horse to set 
out, a messenger brought her a letter from Jean, 
Count of Armagnac, concerning the rival popes, 
whose claims were then distracting the spiritual 
world, and between whom he invited her to 
judge. She dictated an answer at once— that is, 
a letter was dictated ; but Jeanne did not recog- 
nise it for hers at her trial. Most historians 



THE ABBEY OF ST, DENIS. 265 

agree that she deferred making any definite 
answer till her return. 

They gathered in passing part of the force 
which was billeted at Senlis, where they stayed 
two clear days, as we know from Albert d'Ourches, 
who testifies that he saw her confess herself to 
Friar Richard, the only man, it seems, who at- 
tempted any contact with her mind, under the 
walls of Senlis, those ancient pre-feudal walls 
whose sixteen watch-towers show traces of Roman 
construction. D'Ourches tells us she received 
the Holy Communion on two consecutive days 
with the Dukes of Clermont and Alen9on. She 
who made such abundant claims on her spiritual 
life could not work without this constant refresh- 
ing, and of confession she says, ' One cannot too 
much cleanse one's conscience.' (' On ne pent 
trop nettoyer sa conscience.') 

There is much of old-world interest in Senlis : 
including many picturesque and curious houses and 
the remains of the castle. Of the stately church of 
Notre Dame, which is mainly of the twelfth cen- 
tury, the most decorative portions are later than 
Jeanne d'Arc's time, having been restored by 
Louis XII. and Francis I. St. Frambourg, with 
its fine lofty walls, was not then desecrated as a 
building-shed, nor the rich, flamboyant church of 
St. Pierre as a cavalrv stable. Senlis was then 
closely surrounded by a forest. Several writers 
mention the king giving Jeanne a second horse 
at Senlis in September, but I cannot find that 
they were at Senlis together at any time, and I 



266 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

cannot help suspecting that this horse of Senlis 
was the one that caused the dispute with the 
Bishop of Senhs, that Avas brought up against 
Jeanne at her trial : she sent the full payment to 
the bishop for his hackney, which he declared 
he never received. 

On Friday, the 26th of August, the Maid with 
her forces settled at St. Denis. The famous 
abbey is not well seen from the road. The coun- 
try alternates in plain and wooded undulations, 
Avith no great interest, except what the mind 
derives from knowledge of its situation and his- 
tory ; or beauty, except where one comes upon 
peeps of the Seine winding in deep bends among 
the woodland slopes. The burgesses of St. Denis 
delivered the town to Jeanne. ' She restored to 
the royalty, in despite of the king, the toAvn of 
royal tombs as well as the town of the anointing.' 
Charles was obliged to join the army much 
against his will, for fear of being left alone at 
Compiegne. He came as far as Senlis, for at first 
he dared not approach Paris nearer. But it was 
not to attack Paris that he changed his quarters, 
but to abandon Compiegne : he pawned it, or tried 
to do so. 

Bedford left Paris to secure Normandy, which 
he feared might catch the infection of loyalty to 
united France. Two thousand English were left 
in Paris under a knight called Radley, and the 
Burgundians under the command of LTsle Adam. 
They fortified Paris morally and mechanically. 
The Duke of Alencon's invitations to them to 



THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 267 

welcome the king were ill-received, and the French 
army prepared to fight its entrance. The Maid 
assisted at the skirmishes, and attentively examin- 
ed the situation of Paris to see where to make the 
assault, which was perforce deferred so long as 
the kino; did not arrive with the remainder of the 
troops. Their messages to the king receiving no 
answer, the duke went himself to Senlis on the 2nd 
of September ; and again, as his journey was fruit- 
less, on the 5th : this time he so far prevailed 
that the king put himself in marching order and 
arrived on Wednesday, the 7th, in time to dine 
at St. Denis. His arrival was welcomed like a 
victory. 

On the 6th, so soon as they w^ere certain that 
the king meant to come, the troops went forward 
and established themselves at La Chapelle, in the 
dusty plain between St. Denis and Paris. But 
the city had taken heart of resistance and 
strengthened itself during the king's delay. On 
the very day of his arrival, there was a sharp 
skirmish. The Parisians were proud of holding 
out against Charles's army, and ' that creature in 
form of a woman who was with them, whom they 
call the Maid. Who it was, God knoweth,' says 
the old Bur2:ess of Paris. 

But the most serious attempt took place on the 
8th of September. They fought from morning 
till night, the Maid leading the attack on the 
Porte St. Honore. Jeanne Avas severely wounded 
by a crossbow bolt. Still she remained at her post 
helping to fill the ditch and cheering the soldiers 



268 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

on to the walls, declaring that the place would be 
taken. 

' Once more to the breach, dear friends, once 
more.' 

She refused to leave even when the captains 
suspended the attack. They removed her by 
force, and put her on horseback to return to La 
Chapelle. ' By my staff,' she cried, ' the place 
might have been taken !' On that same side of 
St. Honore, Rue du Rampart, nearly two hundred 
years later, Henri Quatre established his victorious 
camp before Paris. 

Next morning she wished to return to the 
charge, and internal divisions among the besieged 
and the confidence of tiie assailants made the 
taking of Paris appear a very likely result. But 
as they approached the walls, messengers arrived 
from the king inviting the Maid to desist, and 
commanding the Duke of Alen9on and the other 
leaders to retire. 

They obeyed sadly, hoping however to return 
by another road. There was one more chance to 
take the city. The Duke of Alen^on had thrown 
a bridge across the Seine where it winds so 
deeply at St. Denis, thus bringing their camp 
much nearer the capital. By this bridge they 
might cross the river and attack the city at an 
undefended point. The king said nothing on the 
subject, and on the 10th of September very 
early the Maid set out with the Duke of Alen^on 
and the flower of the army to pass the Seine. 
The bridge of St. Denis was gone ! The king 



THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS, 269 

had had it destroyed during the night. Exasper- 
ating Charles ! And all the more so that our 
English chroniclers say that Paris would have 
given way had they continued the attack a 
very little longer. 

The king remained at St. Denis, performing 
some of the ceremonials of royalty and causing 
himself to be enthroned there. Jeanne hoped it 
would have been like another Rheims to see King 
Charles in his famous abbey church. Surely the 
names and tombs of the heroes of his race and 
their sunlit effigies emblazoned in coloured 
splendour on the windows would awaken this 
weak monarch to a sense of his belonging to that 
magnificent family. 

This abbey, the burial-place of the kings of France 
from the time of Dagobert, 638, has been called 
one of the most sumptuous and gorgeous edifices 
in the world. It was rebuilt in the romanesque 
style by Abbe Suger in 1140-44, and this era of 
the building comprises the fine east end of the 
choir with its semicircle of chapels ; but it carries 
its architectual history through many succeeding 
ages, and perhaps the greatest portion of the 
church belongs to the restorations of late years ; 
for it was very nearly destroyed in the great 
Revolution, and has been carefully rebuilt by the 
succeeding sovereigns. The exterior is now main- 
ly romanesque and early pointed, with battle- 
mented tops to the walls, except on the north aisle, 
which is richly decorated with gurgoyles and a 
forest of flying-buttresses ; a fine example of Gothic 



270 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

grandeur. The west front is the oldest part 
externally : it has two solid round-arched roman- 
esque towers, one rearing tall its spire, like a right 
hand raised to heaven. In the centre a star- 
shaped Avindow is set in a gabled pediment. The 
interior presents a harmonious mingling of decor- 
ated Gothic with the romanesque ; being restored 
in fine white stone, it looks like a new church. 
To the fanciful mind it seems like a widow in 
bridal array. 

Time, which engulfed the eleven steps forming 
the ancient pedestal of Notre Dame de Paris, has 
swept away the throne of St. Denis also. One 
descends four steps on entering through great 
bronze doors between massive clustered columns 
on squared plinths. Though built of fair white 
stone, it looks black with deep shade on entering 
from the dazzling out-door light, gradually grooving 
illumined as one walks up the long nave towards 
the high-raised altar all white and gold, with tall 
candle-sticks ; the bright glass in the chevetal 
chapels forming a glory behind the altar. It is a 
conofresration of the dead, whose deeds do follow 
them. The white stone tombs of kings with 
clasped hands represent a silent worship. Their 
work is done, they are w^arriors taking their rest. 
The long aisles lined with ogival windows, headed 
by tracery of six-foiled rosettes, form avenues of 
colour leading vista-like from the entrance gloom 
to the clear light of the chancel. The coloured 
glass of the clerestory and triforium windows is 
absolutely dazzling in its gorgeous translucency. 



THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 



271 



The clerestory of the nave is especially luminous 
with figures of the kings in glory of coloured 
splendour. Kings arrayed in glory such as they 
never saw in life ; they are rather pictured as in 
Paradise, clothed in richest green and purple, 
crimson, amber, deep royal-blue, in lost hues of 
rainbows. How different from the gaudy gaiety, 
or the negative greys, of pictures in the ^ Salon' are 
these pure jewel-like hues, with the afternoon sun 
blazing through the glass. The windows in the 
choir have figure-subjects from sacred history. 

It needs a catalogue to take the royal tombs in 
their sequence. The following are some of the 
most interesting tombs, not always so because 
they are the most elaborate : 

Catherine de Courtenay in bronze, and other 
figures of the royal dead of 13-1400, with animals 
at their feet ; Marie de Bourbon, 1402 ; Charles, 
Count of Anjou, King of Sicily, a child, 1285. 
Ermentrude, a.d., 869, and Constance of Castile, 
A.D., 1160, both lie beneath the great wheel 
window, with their feet towards the altar : 
this is the position of all the effigies. Here 
is a tomb of a princess ' dont le nom reste in- 
connu.' How touchino;, her imao:e alone remains : 
with most of the noble dead, it is their name only 
that remains, and, with the most renowned, their 
works ; in these we must image them for our- 
selves. Here is a Count of Dreux, his shield 
seme of fleurs-de-lys. The statues of Clovis and 
Clotilda stand upright as if by doors ; and this is 
so ) they were brought here from the portal of the 



272 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

church of Corbeil-sur-Seine at the time of the Re- 
volution. These figures are works of the eleventh 
century, most probably. In the middle of the 
nave are three splendid monuments. The first 
contains the sepulchres of Louis XII. and Anne of 
Brittany, each under a columned canopy : the 
figure of Louis XII. is nude. The second covers 
the tombs of Henri II. and Catherine de Medicis. 
The third and most highly-finished monument is 
that of Francis I. and Queen Claude. 

One ascends a flight of steps from the nave to 
the raised choir and the surrounding chevetal 
chapels. The glass in the central chapel of the 
Virgin is thought to be the oldest coloured glass 
in France. The standard of the sacred oriflamme, 
not used in battle since the time of Charles VII., 
was formerly displayed behind the high altar of 
St. Denis. 

Two figures lie, one on a green bronze slab, in 
the raised chevet round the altar. Here one goes 
into the sacristy to see the altar treasures, pass- 
ing first through a panelled room lined with 
modern pictures of great events that have taken 
place at St. Denis : the funeral of Dagobert in 
638; St. Louis taking the oriflamme in 1240; 
Philippe le Hardi bringing the relics of his father 
here in 1271, and several others ; but there is no 
picture relative to Jeanne d'Arc : the French can 
have no pride in Charles's deeds at St. Denis. 

The same stone staircase that leads up to the 
chapels of the choir also leads down into the crypt, 
which is full of royal tombs among the solid round 



THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 273 

columns that support the church above. Here 
are old brasses and the (coloured) head of a king. 
Here is also a baby's tomb, the marble baby feet 
resting on a lion. Within candle-lighted gratings 
over small apertures, the coffins with figures of 
the earlier kings are seen in an inner crypt with 
massive round arches. Beyond these ancient 
effigies in a separate burial-place are those of the 
later Louis, with Louis XVIL in a medallion, 
poor hapless boy, one of the most pathetic figures 
in history, and fat Louis XVIIL Charlemagne, a 
modern sculpture but a grander figure, places in 
ludicrous antithesis the difference between great- 
ness and stoutness. Neither do the colossal 
statutes of Louis XIV. and his family look truly 
great, though the wigs are bulky. The round- 
arched vaulting here is part of the original 
church. 

How beautiful it is to come up and out into 
the coloured glow of the nave again. 

Here are the effigies which more immediately 
concern our subject ; new, or at least well-remem- 
bered in Jeanne d'Arc's time : among them the 
Constable of France, Jeanne de Bourbon, Charles 
V. and Charles VL ; Isabeau de Baviere is beside 
him now, then she was still* living in sin within 
Paris yonder. Renee d'Orleans et Longueville 
has an unicorn at her feet. Beneath a great wheel 
window of violet lig^ht lie Carloman and Berthe 
sceptred, and four other ancient kings and queens 
in royal robes. There is also an Orleans chapel. 
It strikes one with awe to walk through past 

T 



274 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

history in this way. It is a church well-calculated 
to raise many varied emotions. Well might 
Jeanne d'Arc have seen her visions here, have 
peopled it with visions. Poor soul, she had great 
need of their comfort. Her king was enthroned 
truly ; but late events had destroyed the charm of 
the pageantry. It w^as no fresh repetition of the 
glory of Rheims. Ichabod — the glory was depart- 
ed, the lustre dimmed. Charles had a medal 
struck in Jeanne's honour ; on one side was her 
portrait, on the other a hand holding a sword 
with the legend ' Consilio confirmata Dei,' sustain- 
ed by the counsel of God. The honour seemed a 
mockery now.* 

The king left St. Denis on the 13th of Sep- 
tember. His retreat had to be protected. 

If Jeanne had adorned her imaginarj^ Charles 
with as imaginary virtues, she must have been 
painfully undeceived. Charles was by nature ' a la 
fois aride et molle, faible et fermee ;' she could 
not communicate to him the heroic tire of her 
own soul, nor persuade him that God called him 
to his duties. Such souls as his are deaf to the 

* The British Museum possesses no replica of this medal, nor even 
a cast of it. The authorities there have no belief in the existence of 
such a medal. They know of no medals of Charles VII. previous to 
the expulsion of the English in 1451. The ' Annuaire Numismatique ' 
(1867) does not mention it ; and Lenormant, who tells us that it is 
France who oifers us the first example of a commemorative medal, 
does not give Jeanne's medal, but only the one in commemoration of 
the expulsion of the English in 1451 ; which was struck (probably) 
by Jacques Coeur. Were it not that every historian speaks of a 
medal having been struck in honour of Jeanne d'Arc, one would be 
disposed to seek it in the ' limbo ' of Charles's good intentions. 



THE ABBEY OF ST, DENIS. 275 

voice of duty. His vanity, besides, was wounded 
at having been made to play a secondary part in 
his own triumphs. The Maid eclipsed him with 
her heroism, and, as a French writer keenly says, 
' Un devouement si eclatant I'oiFusquait.' This 
too injured his pride. The courtiers petted him 
and promised to restore him by diplomacy, by 
Burgundian treaty, by words, not deeds. Yet, 
though the abbey church of St. Denis did not 
present the spectacle of another Rheims to Jeanne, 
it was the scene of a drama infinitely more touch- 
ing. When words were of no avail, Avhen arms 
had failed her, when she had fousrht and bled 
in vain, on Tuesday, the 13th of September, the 
Maid gave and left her harness complete on our 
Lady's altar at St. Denis and followed the king. 
She was still faithful to him, as a noble dog is 
faithful. 

' L'Ost a Saint Denys retourna 

Ou par humbles et devotz termes 
Elle ofFrit, laissa et donna 

Le harnoiz dont avoit faict armes.' 

She had done her utmost. She had fought 
and promised that Paris should be taken, provided 
that tJiey persevered, and they would not persevere. 
All her prophetic promises had been of the same 
sort ; God would help them if they helped them- 
selves, and worked out their prayer with active 
will. Orleans would be delivered — but by the 
active efforts of men-at-arms, not by standing 
idly by. The Bible says, ' The effectual fervent 
prayer of a righteous man availeth much,' but 

T 2 



276 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

even here there are conditions — else where is free 
will? The encouragement to work is the know- 
ledge that God blesses work. He also blesses 
rest ; but rest is not idleness. Faith is an active 
virtue, even hope is not always passive. 

At St. Denis Louis de Contes, her page, left her ; 
history does not say why. Her wound received at 
Paris was cured in five days, and she could now 
mount her horse again and follow the king, un- 
wearied in his service ; but first she came at 
evening into the Abbey of St. Denis and placed 
her arms as an offering at the feet of the Virgin 
and before the relics of the patron saint of the 
realm. ' Because it is the cry of France,' she 
said. She offered her harness complete, her 
maiden white armour, with the sw^ord, not of 
Ste. Katherine, that was now broken, but the 
one she had gained at the Boulevard St. Honore. 
Her offered arms Avere afterwards hung to a 
column of the temple ; even that august place 
contained no more sacred relic. Her heart was 
there. This was not, as has been said, an imita- 
tion of the watching of the arms of chivalry, but 
an offering simply, and a beseeching to be shown 
the will of God, the outward act implying the 
inward reverence. Jeanne having wrought to 
her utmost, could only wait on her ministry. 
The tide of battle had rolled aside, the pomp of 
war was moving off eastward ; pageant history 
again dimmed into a shade, the small suburban 
town was becoming quiet again ; silence would for 
ages wrap round the sleep of the kings of France, 



THE ABBEY OF ST. DENIS. 277 

only the moon, ' kissing dead things to life,' would 
outline the ancient towers with silver, while it cast 
the more modern buildings into blackest shadow, 
and played in starry ripples on the waters ; only 
the host of heaven would gather round those 
towers, ' a dusky empire and its diadems.' 

Hear our own sweet writer upon Art and Nature 
describe this scene of St. Denis as pictured by 
our Turner. ' And then you shall hear the faint- 
ing tempest die in the hollow of the night, and 
you shall see a green halo kindling on the summit 
of the eastern hills, brighter — brighter yet, till 
the large Avliite circle of the slow moon is lifted 
up among the barred clouds, step by step, line 
by line ; star after star she quenches with her 
kindling light, setting in their stead an army of 
pale, penetrable, fleecy wreaths in the heaven, to 
give light upon the earth, which move together, 
hand-in-hand, company by company, troop by 
troop, so measured in their unity of motion that 
the whole heaven seems to roll with them, and 
the earth to reel under them.' 

Within the abbey, kneeling in the moon-ray 
that pierces the dense darkness of that sepulchral 
building, see Jeanne, in her despair, offering up 
those arms that have failed her now. ' Pour ce 
que c'est le cri de la France,' and France and she 
still vainly cry for help to St. Denis. See her 
watching those arms, and still hoping, brave heart, 
holding up the cross-hilt of her sword before the 
altar, a star in the cathedral gloom : the moonlight 
glimmering on those old tombs and ranks of 
coluums, those silent forms — 



278 FOOTSl'EPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

' So silent they — the place so lone — 
They seem like souls when life is gone, 
That haunt where life has been.' 

Her sio:hs unheard throii2:h the owls hootino; 
outside in the deep eaves and gables. 

The ghosts of the royal glory, revisiting these 
pale lunar rainbow glimpses, full of sorrowful in- 
dignation would look with pity upon Jeanne d'Arc, 
sunken abased on that sepulchral pavement. She 
has lost the proud audacity that had distinguished 
her ; an outward, visible sign of her inward faith : 
that confident courage without which great actions 
are impossible. She sighs, and Aveeps, and prays 
that her faith and her strength may be given back 
to her, to be used for France and for her faithless 
king. These can only be sought in solitude and 
prayer ; only by keeping off contact Avith all 
worldliness can she regain her spiritual vision. 
In self-abasement man is truly greatest, for then 
he remembers God, and recognises his own spiri- 
tual nature. 

Alone, kneeling before her God, can she discern 
the signs and wonders that are dimmed by contact 
with the world, and can only be recovered by 
stillness and solitude in the solemnity of moon- 
li^t. She rises sad yet calm, encouraged, hope- 
ful. More faithful to the king than the king 
himself, she did not quit him, but followed him 
full of sorrow in the bitter path of retreat. The 
moonlight still shines ghastly and transparent 
over the abbey, which has never since been aught 
but a sepulchre. 



271) 



CHAPTER XIII. 

THE king's retreat. CAMPAIGN ON THE UPPER 

LOIRE. 

Et sa belle vie, par foy ! 

Monstre qu'elle est de Dieu en grace, 

Par quoy on adjouste plus foy 

A son fait, car quoy qu'elle fasse, 

Tousjours a Dieu devant la face. 
Christine de Pisan, a mm ivJw wrote a poem on Jeanne ctArc 
at the age of sixty -seven ycars^ and finished it ^Ist July, 1429. 

It was a victory for the double-faced, half-hearted 
courtiers, only faithful to their own skin. Per- 
haps, too, several of them were bribed ; there is a 
strong smell of dross about some of the chroni- 
cles ; any way, their motives were ignoble. 
Chivalry, in the persons of Dunois and La Hire, 
was with Jeanne, and the love and trust of the 
soldiery ; but selfishness and greed are stronger 
than chivalry, and idleness is weightier than any- 
thing in this Avorld : these were with Charles. 
These were his enemies far more than the 
English. 

Jeanne had promised the rulers that Paris 
should be taken — if they persevered, or even if 
they let her persevere for them. They did not 



280 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE B'ARC. 

fulfil the conditions. Her Voices told her still to 
remain near Paris. Jeanne felt to be going 
against the voice of heaven in leaving St. Denis, 
though she said at her trial that her Voices had 
afterwards given her leave to go. Her tears were 
as those of angels weeping for a fallen race. 

It was a sorrowful day for a girl of seventeen 
— remember this, she was not yet eighteen. Her 
diminished lustre was a grief such as a woman 
would feel keenly, and Jeanne was sensitive on this 
point. The Maid's will and her army were broken. 
The king returned to Gien, leaving only promises 
behind him. He made the Duke of Bourbon his 
lieutenant-general and retired, his reason being 
that he had not money enough to carry on the war. 

He returned to wrap himself in sloth ; but, as 
Martin, who loves him little, satirically says, ' II 
trouva de la celerite pour la retraite.' It took 
him only eight days to regain Gien, his point of 
departure, although he made a circuit to cross the 
Marne at Lagny, which the herald Berri says was 
reduced for him. Ah, why did he not even here 
make a citadel of the high-seated town of Pro- 
vins, with its large-domed church, lofty for out- 
look, and its great tower, a curious fortress of the 
thirteenth century, an octagonal building, with 
four lesser towers grouped round it, standing on 
a strong round pedestal ? Passing Provins (the 
roses over), he crossed the Seine at Bray, which 
this time delivered up its bridge ; he forded the 
Yonne near Sens, still English, which refused 
him entry, as the English refused to be included 



THE KING'S RETREAT. 281 

in the nominal truce, and, briefly halting at 
Courtenay, Chateau Regnart, and Montargis, he 
came upon the Loire on Wednesday, the 21st of 
September, in time to dine at Gien (' a disner a 
Gien-sur-Loire,' says the old diarist). His little 
life was rounded by a dinner. I hope he had a 
good appetite. To arrive at Gien in time for 
dinner seems such an absurd anti-climax to his 
coronation triumph. 

His army dispersed. The Duke of Alencon 
repaired to his viscounty of Beaumont, where his 
wife awaited him, and the other captains went 
home, each one to his government. La Tre- 
mouille and the Archbishop of Rheims ' thence- 
forth governed the body of the king and his war 
business,' as the old chronicler quaintly puts it. 
While the king went ' promenant ses loisirs,' to 
use Wallon's apt expression, in Touraine, Poitou, 
and Berri, leaving all in confusion behind him 
and open to pillage, there set in for the Maid a 
period full of mental trouble and anguish, which 
she proudly and bravely concealed — ' a period of 
transition between the splendours of victory and 
of martyrdom.' The revulsion of feeling was 
profound. 

On Michaelmas Day the Duke of Burgundy 
came to Paris, and was made lieutenant of the 
kingdom by Bedford. The garrison of St. Denis 
fell back on Senlis, and the English carried off as 
trophies the arms the Maid had deposited in the 
abbey-church. The towns were held to ransom ; 
it was difficult even to hold Senlis. France was 



282 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D\iRC. 

worse off than before the Maid had rescued her. It 
was each leader for himself; everyone ravaged 
his neighbour's land, and provisions rose to famine 
price in Paris. 

Jeanne remained with the kino^, bearins: these 
troubles, that he threw off so lightly in the midst 
of his gay, lute-thrumming court, where there 
was a host of gallantly -arrayed minor leaders of 
his disbanded army, and Alain Chartier, the poet, 
ready to throw the glamour of musical words 
over reverses of fortune. They had the luck to 
be light-minded, but Jeanne could not find ' re- 
pose in mere sensation,' as they all did, those 
rebeck-twangling courtiers and the king who lost 
a kingdom so gaily. They looked for repose 
now, having earned it, as they deemed, by their 
summer progress towards the capital, — and back ; 
she only looked for rest, life's battle over. 

The king remained some days resting at Gien, 
whence he intended to go to Tours and Chinon ; 
but the queen, who sought to reconcile herself to 
her husband, came to Selles to meet him and 
welcome him back. The Maid, who had their 
reconciliation greatly at heart, saw this step with 
joy. She went before the king and his suite, and 
herself met Marie of Anjou — it seems for the first 
time — and paid her homage to her queen. 

Instead of continuing his route towards Chinon, 
Charles consented to return to Bourges with the 
queen. Probably the two high-minded women 
sympathized Avith each other, as Jeanne seems to 
have been encouraged to fresh hopes, and from 



THE KING'S RETREAT. 288 

this time she again seems highly-strung for action. 
The pleasures of court life had not been able to 
make her lose the sense of defeat and failure, 
which the rest all felt so lightly, as if it were solely 
her aiFair, not theirs : she bore the burden of 
shame for them. 

It would have been a miserable October to 
Jeanne but that she was soothed by womanly 
kindness ; another of those noble ladies who all 
vied in paying respect to the heroine, enter- 
tained her on a visit of three weeks at her house 
at Bouro^es. This was Mar^-uerite de la Thour- 
oude, Avidow of Renaud de Bouligny, the king's 
treasurer. This lady paints pleasantly for us the 
piety of Jeanne's life and that simplicity which 
was unspoiled by camp life and the adulation of 
the crowd, who attributed miraculous powers to 
her, which she good-humouredly and with great 
good sense denied. 

The Duke of Alencon iiad collected troops 
with whom he proposed to enter Normandy, 
attacking the English in flank by way of Brit- 
tany and Maine, provided that they permitted 
the Maid to accompany him. The king refused. 

Even the whole of the Loire was not yet 
French ; the enemy held La Charite and St. 
Pierre-le-Moustier. These strongholds threatened 
the safety of the royal residences — a suflicient 
reason for action. A council was held at Mehun- 
sur-Y5vre,afavourite castle of indolence of Charles, 
where later on he actually let himself die of starva- 
tion for fear of being poisoned by his son, after- 



284 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

wards Louis XL Two ruined towers of this castle 
only remain. The council thought it might he 
for their advantage to let Jeanne act in this part 
of the country, so they sent her to lay siege to 
La Charite, preluding this conquest by that of St. 
Pierre-le-Moustier. Both these fortresses are on 
the Loire, St. Pierre the further south of the two, 
at the junction of the Loire and Allier. 

The Maid would have preferred returning to 
Paris, but she set to work at once to obey her 
orders with good will. She went to Bo urges 
(from Mehun) to gather the troops intended for 
this enterprise. It appears that the court took 
the opportunity of having her escort as far as 
Bourges, likewise a favourite residence of the 
king. Indeed his affections seem to have been 
divided out hnpartially among his castles. The 
house in the Rue de Paradis at Bourges, with the 
eleo:ant staircase turret, is said to have been his 
palace. It is now part of the Lycee. There is a 
tine fireplace in the old hall still existing. 

Bourges rises out of meadow-land well-stocked 
with grazing cattle, It is a countrified and clean- 
ly town, peopled with clean-looking provincial 
folk wearing sabots. Its colossal grey cathedral 
stands among the lesser roofs like an elephant 
among mice. One walks up the hill through the 
picturesque and dormer-windowed town to the 
centre of attraction, St. Etienne, the culminating 
point of Berri. What a grand cathedral it is, to 
be sure, with its five sculptured portals and two 
towers, one shorter than the other. And inside. 



THE KING'S RETREAT. 285 

it is but a nave indeed ; but what a nave ! with 
its five aisles, all of diff*erent heights, and its outer 
chapels, each with triforium and clerestory com- 
plete as if they were the cathedral nave itself. 
The effect of this is admirably grand. Among 
the striking peculiarities of St. Etienne are the 
large lozenge-set piers of the western end, and 
externally, beyond the sumptuous wall-veil of the 
building, the massive double flying-buttresses, 
which by their bulky depth of shade give infinite 
value to the fine and lighter traceries, and to the 
Norman work of the older part of the church. 
These dark, solid arches are most fascinating to 
an artist, with their strange chiaroscuro and the 
peeps of the tosvn-roofs lying bright in every 
gradation of tile-tint beneath the dark openings. 
The windows and portals of the west front are 
peculiarly deeply buttressed and embayed. This 
attention to strong contrast of light and shade, 
and the predominance of the number five in all 
the leading details of the church, give it an 
original and strongly-marked individual character, 
sino-lino: it out to remembrance amono^ the numer- 
ous French cathedrals, when all these have blended 
in the memory as does a mountain chain in one 
intricate tissue of grandeur. Truly the mountains 
here are of man's making — under inspiration — one 
may say ; when lifted up beyond himself. 

Charles, though King of Bourges, was not the 
only king in Bourges : for though his famous 
house, now the Hotel de Ville, was not yet built 
(it was begun some fifteen years later than Jeanne 



286 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

d'Arc's little day), yet Jacques Coeur, the gold- 
smith (the George Heriot of France) was the 
great capitalist and employer of labour of his 
time. ' Rich as Jacques Coeur ' was a proverb. 
One may say almost all the gold in France 
passed through his hands. Jacques Coeur pro- 
vided the sinews of war for Charles, as Dunois, La 
Hire, and Saintrailles furnished him with hands 
and weapons, and Jeanne d'Arc provided the brave 
spirit. Besides being a magnificent banker and 
builder of the most sumptuously florid house in 
France — ' a vaillants Coeurs rien impossible,' 
Jacques Coeur favoured the disciples of Van Eyck 
in art. He encourao-ed art like a kino^. He was 
king of the arts of peace, so to speak ; Charles 
was king of idleness. 

Charles often came to Bourges to fill his purse. 
But at length, less wise than his prudent, crafty son, 
Louis XL, who made the importance of the bur- 
gesses the characteristic of his government, he 
killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. For 
in later years the courtiers envied Jacques Coeur, 
hated, vilified, ruined him, and the king seized 
his 2:oods and drove him out into the Avorld an 
aged, poor, and banished man. The courtiers 
declared Agnes Sorel to have been poisoned by 
Jacques Coeur. Agnes knew him better, knew 
that he was her true friend. He was appointed 
one of the executors to her will. 

His house externally presents a range of street 
pictures of florid but harmonious character, Avhile 
the general details would suflice to form a glossary 



THE KING'S RETREAT. 



287 



of ornament in themselves. A new Terracottopolis 
might here supply itself with patterns for its gables, 
chimneys, roofs, and spires, and every architec- 
tural freak, without degenerating into extrava- 
gance of design. 

Besides the house of Jacques Coeur, there is 
the picturesque gendarmerie, which is an elegant 
example of the spired and turreted renaissance, 
and there are many other old houses remarkable 
even in this very dormer-and-gably place, which I 
should call ^ the French Nuremberg.' Besides the 
houses that Murray mentions, there is No. 44 on 
the road to the station, which has a moulding of 
lions and thistles mingled with birds feeding out 
of baskets, and over the door a bas-relief like a 
valentine ; a shield resembling a heart, with two 
cupids as supporters, and a bust inside a crocketed 
Gothic arch ; all laughable, but piquant wdthal, 
and not inelegant. 

Even in this early November time, when also 
Jeanne was here, there is something fresh and 
bowery about the landscape. The country is still 
green and moist, almost too moist, and the trees 
are autumn- tinted, mingling their colours with 
the bright tile roofs and white house-fronts of 
the suburbs, all standing well out from the grey 
background, which also gives excelling brightness 
to yonder rainbow. The ' alize ' berries are ripe, 
a common fruit here, growing in bunches like 
larger hips. I do not know them as edible fruit 
elsewhere than in Berri. The reddeninsf cherrv- 
leaves brighten the withered brown foliage round 



288 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

the farmsteads. This part of France is full of homes, 
from the turreted chateau to the dormer-windowed 
nests of the artisan and peasant. The dark-eyed 
women are fine-featured and fresh-coloured. They 
are handsomer here than in most parts of France ; 
one traces a southern origin in their sometimes 
nearly classic outlines. I do not say the majority 
are beautiful, but there is a good per-centage. 
They wear coal-scuttle cottage bonnets, trimmed 
with broad black velvet, planted bolt upright on 
the top of their heads. 

The troops and money raised, Jeanne d'Arc rode 
forward to besiege St. Pierre-le-Moustier, at the 
junction of the Loire and Allier, which from 
here run nearly parallel deep into the mountains 
of Auvergne, draining almost the whole range of 
the Cevennes, and all those high-peaked hills 
where the grey and purple rocks are set in 
greenest grass, for this steep country is a part of 
France where excellent butter is made ; and now 
in November the densely-grown beeches changing 
colour, and other varied foliage of brown and yel- 
low, relieved with scarlet leaves of the wild cherry, 
shelter the cattle which animate the park-like 
scenery of the slopes between the red-roofed and 
irregular towns, all busy and prosperous with 
their fresh-coloured, healthy -looking population. 

The higher mountains are covered with brush- 
wood mino^led with beech and fir. The ascents 
in zigzag terraces are truly Alpine, with their 
viaducts and deep cuttings, fringed at the sky- 
line with balsam pines, and rapid descents which 



THE KING'S RETREAT. 289 

take the breath away. Here is the infant Loire, 
full of stone-banks and islands from his very 
babyhood. He is quite a spoiled child ; but when 
one sees where he comes from, and the sort of 
country he drains, one no longer wonders at the 
islands and shifting sandbanks at Orleans and 
Tours. 

The Allier, too, is full of stones, islands, and 
sandbanks, so that art has to supplement the 
navigation. Near Le Guetin, close by St. Pierre- 
le-Moustier, is a long stone bridge, le Leve, or 
Pont-Canal de Guetin, carrying the lateral canal 
of the Loire right over the Allier : a vast work. 

St. Pierre-le-Moustier lies on the boundary of 
the ancient provinces of Nivernois and Le Bour- 
bonnais. It is a mere village, commanded by the 
ruins of the strong old donjon tower whose massy 
walls were held by Jeanne d' Arc's enemies. The 
old church still remains where the besieged had 
placed their goods, and which Jeanne caused to 
be respected. The archivolt of the north door- 
way has some fine remains of sculpture. 

The siege of St. Pierre-le-Moustier shows that 
the capture of Jargeau and other places was the 
result of Jeanne's generalship as well as her 
valour, for here she was in sole command, so 
that one cannot attribute her success to the sup- 
port of Dunois or the Duke of Alencon, for they 
were employing themselves in Normandy. Per- 
sonally she took St. Pierre-le-Moustier, placing 
herself resolutely in the foremost front of danger. 
' Bring faggots and hurdles, everyone, so as to 

u 



290 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

make the bridge,' cried she, and a bridge was 
formed and the town taken by assault. The 
bright rainbow of Bo urges had been an augury 
of good hope. 

From here she desired to follow down the 
Loire and besiege La Charite. But the place 
was strongly fortified with its fourteenth century 
watch-towers, and she had not munitions sufficient 
to attack it. She examined La Charite from the 
outside, but had not the opportunity of inspecting 
its collegiate church, which Fergusson calls one of 
the most picturesque and beautiful in France. It 
was built ' stupenda celeritate,' and the Abbe Suger 
was present at its dedication in 1144. The court 
not furnishing her with necessaries, she addressed 
herself to the towns, and Bo urges engaged her 
octrois, and Orleans also sent her succours. 
While waiting for these supplies she reconnoitred 
the country round about and followed up the 
Allier to Moulins, now a dull, provincial town of 
no special interest, except such as hangs about the 
moist memory of Sterne's humid Maria. Of the 
castle only a square tower, called ' La Mai Coiffee,' 
still remains. There is of course a cathedral, but 
this is eclipsed by the neighbouring Abbey of 
Souvigny, the burial-place of the Dukes of Bour- 
bon ; the St. Denis of that great family. This is 
one of the most remarkable buildings in tiie 
province. Jeanne wrote to Riom from Moulins 
on the 9th of November, which fixes the date of 
her visit. The avenues at Moulins were still 
green when she was there, notwithstanding the 



THE KING'S UETUEAT. 291 

advanced season. In Lanofuedoc the trees are 
already brown or bare by November. The climate 
is milder and more agreeable in the Bourbonnais. 
Here the cattle were not yet honsed for the winter 
when the Maid went to La Charite on the 24th 
hoping speedily to capture the place. But it was 
hard, uphill work, and, the king still sending no 
supplies, the army for lack of money and provisions 
had to raise the siege at the end of a month, to 
Jeanne's great vexation. The court, as usual, asked 
nothing better than excuses for inaction, and was 
glad to disband the troops and lay up in winter 
quarters. La Charite was now isolated, and 
unlikely to disturb the king's repose. 

After the failure at La Charite, they had pre- 
text enough to prevent Jeanne from undertaking 
anything. They aiFected to console her, and 
heaped on her the vain favours of the court. 
They surrounded her with observances and 
honours, and her family was ennobled ; but she 
herself kept her own name and banner. 

' It is difficult,' says George Eliot, ' almost im- 
possible for a man to pass his life amidst (court) 
intrigues, and yet preserve his purity intact.' 
Jeanne sought a higher consecration of her 
powers than they did, even than the best of them. 
Alas, it might have been hers to have redeemed 
France, and now the enemy had burst over and 
flooded the land again, and still they kept her 
inactive, chafing against the pettiness of their 
views, while following the court from Bourges to 
Sully, whence she visited the toAvns she had de- 

u2 



292 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

livered ; Orleans, for instance, and Jargeau ; and 
she visited Montfaucon in Berri, where a soi-distant 
inspired person, Catherine de la Rochelle, came to 
seek her. Besides her foes, native and foreign, 
she had now a rival. This Catherine held out a 
more tempting bait than Jeanne, she promised 
gold. Jeanne only promised liberty. It has 
always been the case that, if the devil cannot mar 
any work of God, he parodies that work. The 
inventive or creative spirit is eminently opposed 
to the diabolic nature, which has no original 
mind, but only corrupt or perverted talents. It 
can only mimic scornfully what has been done, 
it cannot improve upon it, nor nobly copy ; it 
can only caricature, deface, defile. This is why 
parody is so lowering, travesty so debasing. 
Everything can be made a jest of. And the 
humour is keenest when the highest things are 
brought low ; the sense of contrast, of incon- 
gruity, tickles one ; this is one of the elements 
of wit which, to be pure, must be kept within 
bounds of the most exquisite taste, that it may 
not degenerate into boisterous or vulgar fun. 
Attic wit is fine in its outlines as Greek sculp- 
ture, sharp cut as the intaglio on a gem ; not 
flying fast and loose, or slipping on and off like a 
too easy shoe. The spirit of reverence contains 
the essence of beauty. Perhaps this is why the 
Bible warns us against levity as not convenient. 
It is an arm of Satan for lowering our tone of 
feeling and bringing all things into contempt : 
equalising all laws, human and divine, by crush- 



THE KING'S RETREAT. 293 

ing them into the dust and treading them under- 
foot. Nothing is honoured. No one can be 
nourished by the fragments of bread that have 
been fluno; into the gutter. The flowers are 
crushed, the silver broidery tarnished, all is made 
common by the commonest people. Travesty has 
none of the wholesome uses of irony and satire. 
Wit^ which is the most exquisite zest of life, its 
very salt, which keeps talk from becoming cor- 
rupt and feeble, is turned to sneers and flippancy. 
The ' esprit moqueur ' is a type which does the 
heart no good. George Eliot, after sad search 
for living truth, says, ' It is the flippant way in 
which the most solemn hopes of the noblest 
humanity are disposed of that disgusts me. It 
would be better (?) if they could have a false 
worship, with one generous emotion.' We can 
all understand her feeling, though we cannot 
endorse it altogether. In France it is said, ' To 
ridicule is to kill.' Are we the better for having 
dead bodies all around us, or dead faiths ? 

The clear-sighted Jeanne disbelieved in Cathe- 
rine of Rochelle ; this was of course attributed to 
jealousy of a rival. The more credulous Friar 
Richard was tempted to belief His mind was 
so constituted that spiritual pretensions had a 
strange charm for him, which this time he did not 
care to test too closely. There is much hunger for 
the marvellous in this sort of people. Friar 
Richard was an over-credulous spiritual director 
for Jeanne d'Arc ; it was rather she who guided 
him. 



294 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

Catherine's offer to supply money to pay the 
army was the easier that the army was dispersed : 
the men had gone to till the ground. Protracted 
campaigns were impracticable before the days of 
standing armies. Catherine did not press for the 
soldiers to be recalled to their standards, she said 
it was too cold to pursue the siege of La Charite. 
In fact, no prophetess could have suited the court 
better, for she made no exacting demands, which 
are so tiresome when they come in the shape of 
duties. Jeanne was not in unison with their 
light and childish temper. As it has been said of 
a great employer of labour in modern times 
(Brassey), ' people seemed to enter into a higher 
atmosphere when they were in (her) presence/ 
And they could not bear the rarefied air. The 
court and she lived in two different worlds of 
feeling: to their world she was a stranger, their 
mental language was not hers. In their world she 
was being well-nigh driven from that sympathy 
with her neighbour, which is part of our communion 
with God, into the abstracted asceticism which is 
so remote from true religion. Her active, healthy 
physique nurtured in peasant life saved her. 

She had sounded the shallows of the court in 
her austere young gravity, now made more seri- 
ous by sorrow and by experience of a wide sort. 
Not long ago all choice and beautiful things had 
given her delight, even to fine colours, burnished 
steel, rich stuffs and splendour ; for she was ' one 
of those happily constituted and well-proportioned 
persons who show forth a certain completeness 



THE KING'S RETREAT. 295 

of nature.' Jeanne had that rare personality 
which persuades its fellows, and attracts inferiors 
with reverence and superiors with admiration. 
But here at court no nature was so great as her 
own, and now she found little to admire except 
on lookinii: upwards. Even when not illuminated 
from above, not actually in the power of im- 
mediate revelation, she was never as a lamp un- 
trimmed. Not always carried to the third heaven, 
she was always prepared to be so uplifted, her 
imagination exalted with every other sensibility 
of her nature. Thus keeping her conversation 
in heaven, her simple nature could not be ' caught 
in a tangle of sophisticated ' demands. She, like 
other prophets, was master of her own spirit, yet, 
as Savonarola said, who felt the like experiences, 
only in the different, perhaps feebler measure of a 
highly learned man, ' I speak as it is given me to 
speak — I am not master of the time when I may 
become the vehicle of knowledge beyond the com- 
mon lights of man.' Jeanne was always ready to 
receive revelation, apt to perceive it : quick as 
light it travelled to her mind. This quicker, 
livelier divination makes the poet, and in fuller 
measure, likewise the prophet. 

Catherine of Rochelle and Friar Richard more 
weakly allowed themselves to be ruled by those 
phantasies which ' govern in the place of thought.' 

It has been said of Rienzi, that other character 
of the middle-ages who rose abnormally and 
suddenly from obscurity to power, — the rise 
seemed sudden and preternatural because the 



296 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

processes were hidden, the growth silent, — ' Rienzi 
was no faultless hero of romance. In him lay 
strong sense, an eloquence and energy that mas- 
tered all he approached, an enthusiasm that 
mastered himself; luxury and abstinence, stern- 
ness and susceptibility, devoted patriotism and 
strong animal spirits.' All this, cast in a feminine 
mould and with simpler piety, might be applied 
to Jeanne : if indeed such opposing qualities are 
not distinctive of all powerful characters in whom 
the mingling of opposite elements effervesces in 
action. 

In these two examples we see how little differ- 
ence mere book-learning makes. Rienzi was 
learned, Jeanne illiterate. The ancient writings, 
warmed by the living fire of Petrarch, were his 
scriptures in which he sought the anatomy of 
power. The Book of God, as seen in Nature, in 
church teaching, and in the art and architecture of 
her time, was the lore she sought. 

' With the sinking of high human trust, the 
dignity of life sinks too ; we cease to believe in 
our own better self, since that also is part of the 
common nature which is degraded in our thought ; 
and all the finer impulses of the soul are dulled.' 

Even the ideal, intellectual grace of the court 
was dimmed and deadened unto her by the 
puerility of its designs. Not even Alain Chartier, 
the poet, could now elevate it, nor the gallantries 
of the courtiers enliven it, nor disarm her austerity. 
The falsity of it all was only too perceptible. The 
tinsel still glittered, but she now knew it was not 



THE KING'S RETREAT. 297 

real gold. She had no longer her sunny delight 
in life, though perhaps her angles were rounded 
by a higher culture. 

Yet, though she could not enjoy their amuse- 
ments, she neo;lected none of the social kindnesses. 
She never refused to do a favour. Many times 
during this lull in her active career she stood 
godmother for infants. The boys she was sponsor 
for were christened Charles, in honour of the king, 
the girls were named Jehanne. 

With music and love-making at court ruled 
also the newly-invented diversion of cards. 
These were the three courtly graces of the 
time. But cards could not have contented 
Jeanne even as a relaxation. Her mind was 
not of an order to be satisfied with cards ; 
and, as for relaxation, she only craved work 
whereby to relax her highly-strung soul ; her 
free, energetic mind disdained the mimic war- 
fare. 

The king had failed France ; she never said it, 
she resisted to her death any attacks upon her 
loyalty, but she knew it. She must now serve 
France only. 

The truce with the Duke of Burgundy, which 
expired at Christmas, was prorogued to Easter, 
and instead of Compiegne, which refused to be 
handed over, Pont-Saint-Maxence was given up 
in guarantee, to the discontent of Duke Philip. 
Fighting was still going on in Normandy, and 
Chateau Gaillard was taken. 

The Armagnacs were at the gates of Paris. On 



298 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

the 23rd of March, 1430, they were again at St. 
Denis ; on the 25th of April they were estabhshed 
at St. Maur. The wave of movement had begun 
again ; as the ssup rose in the trees, so rose ardour 
among French patriots : Jeanne glowed with hope 
once more. 

' The breadth and grandeur of world history 
raised her above petty individual cares, morti- 
fications, mischances.' Patriotism regained its 
predominance. Keep motives single, there lies 
strength of character. One needs at times to 
break through the tangle, the warp of life, and 
seek renewal alone with Nature : to bathe in 
open spaces of sea and sky. Jeanne felt this, and 
longed to be under Nature's restoring influence. 

The Maid wrote on the 16th of March to reassure 
Rheims, which dreaded the enemy's revenge, and 
again on the 28th of March. This last letter is 
dated from Sully, probably on the eve of her 
departure, as she left the court in March, accord- 
ing to Perceval de Cagny. Jeanne now, as 
twice before, took her own resolution. She took 
no leave of the king, but went forth quietly and 
alone, and turned her steps towards Lagny-sur- 
Marne, where they were valiantlj^ fighting, and she 
might aid them. Doubly orphaned, torn by des- 
tiny from her father, bereft of her hopes by her 
king, she left that treacherous court which only 
relaxed the tension of soul and nerves ; where 
doubtless she felt she had to combat enemies 
within more insidious and hard to cope with than 
an open foe. Doubtless, too, the courtiers re- 



THE KING'S RETREAT. 299 

joiced at her departure, though they blamed her 
loudly for it. Her presence was a burden to 
them, now that she knew them in their true 
colours. No more could the court of our Charles 
II. have brooked the presence of a puritan. To 
Milton could not have been given the laurel of 
court favour. Jeanne was a puritan in that court 
of joyeuse science. She went out from among 
them, yet still to serve them. 



300 



CHAPTER XIV. 

THE ROYAL IDOL BKOKEN. THE FOREST OF 

FONTAINEBLEAU. 

' Sans la grace de Dieu je ne ferais rien,' dit Jeanne. Le juge lui 
demanda si elle savait qu'elle fut dans la grace Elle repondit : ' Si 
je n'y suis, Dieu veuille m'y mettre ; et si j'y suis, Dieu veuille m'y 
garder.' (' Without the grace of God I could do nothing,' said Jeanne. 
The judge asked her if she knew she was in grace. She answered, ' If 
I am not, may God place me therein ; and if I am, may God keep me 
therein.') 

A GENERAL Without an army — accompanied most 
probably by d'Aulon, her squire, as we find him 
with her at Compiegne, and one of her brothers, 
as we are told later that two men stayed with her 
all the time since she left the king, and one of 
these was her brother, young Pierre du Lys- — 
Jeanne set forth from Sully on her chivalrous 
enterprise, taking her road towards Lagny-sur- 
Marne by way of Lorris to Montargis. The loyal 
Montargis, which, for its unalterable devotion to 
the national cause, had been freed in perpetuity 
from all taxes, excepting the gabelle on salt ; the 
citizens having the right to wear a crowned 
M embroidered on their coats, and the town 
receiving the name of Montargis-le-Franc, or 



TEE ROYAL IDOL BROKEN. 301 

free. The ^ Encyclopsedia Britannica,' speaking of 
Charles as Bedford's 'vigilant enemy/ (!) says 
Dunois, with a thousand men, had compelled the 
Earl of Warwick to raise the siege of Montargis. 

It is a very countrified town, whose inhabitants 
do not seem to take life very earnestly. In the 
Place, an irregular, obtuse-angled triangle, with 
insignificant low houses built round an accident- 
ally shaped village green, paved as an after- 
thought, the dog of Montargis is chasing the 
pigeons, while dark-eyed, flat-capped boys play 
at quarterstafi* with the long clubs of bread they 
are carrying home for breakfast. It is a flowery 
place. The pinks are overflowing their pots, and 
enlarging the boundaries of the beautiful, on the 
balconies belono^ino; to the tile-floored rooms. 
The fathers of families are hoeing their back 
gardens, or busying themselves with the house- 
hold ofiices that we English always relegate to 
women. The kitchen pans are full of carrots and 
scraped asparagus, the cook is cleaning gudgeons, 
while monsieur cracks up a cone of sugar, or 
roasts his cofl*ee in the frying-pan. How tho- 
roughly these good-natured Frenchmen, w^hen 
they are domestic at all, enjoy their cooking 
and gardening ; and in these country towns the 
meeting each other at evening church, and per- 
haps winding up with the unexciting dominoes 
over a cheerful glass of sugar and water. 

The dominoes excepted, perhaps their habits 
were much the same in Jeanne. d'Arc's time. 
Even then might also have been seen the women 



;302 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'AJHC. 

ill small transparent frilled caps, lace or linen (it 
was before muslin was invented), washing in the 
river flowing below those same old wooden-fronted 
houses, with wooden galleries overhanging the 
stream, where now they kneel to wash, and chat, 
and laugh among the flower-pots and the many 
picturesque bits of out-of-door domestic life which 
make the less-frequented foreign towns so charm- 
ing, where these things are not got up to order as 
part of the scenery. 

High up yonder, above the pink feathery 
tamarisks, is what was once the extensive castle, 
known as ' Le Berceau des Enfans de France,' be- 
cause it was used as the royal nursery. Here was 
formerly to be seen a fresco representing the story 
of the 'Dog of Montargis ;' which was a tale quite 
recent in Jeanne d'Arc's time, as it Avas before 
the eyes of Charles VI. at Paris that the sagacious 
dog singled out from among a crowd the mur- 
derer of his master, indicated the spot in the Forest 
of Bondy where the corpse was buried, and fought 
the murderer and compelled him to confess his 
crime. ' 

All that is left of the castle now is a tower 
(with traces of a portcullis) in a lofty situation 
commanding the town, and a few remains of walls 
surrounding a private house and garden, from 
whence there is a fine expanse of view over a 
featureless country. 

Within the dark Gothic church, the one with the 
gurgoyles and flying buttresses, we might well 
fancy we saw Jeanne, the champion of all these 



THE ROYAL IDOL BROKEN. 303 

simple-minded folk, her brethren. After looking 
on, herself unrecognised, at their innocent pur- 
suits, once hers likewise before she was called to 
the path of glory, and singled out for martyrdom ; 
we can fancy her approaching the dim taper- 
lighted altar, below the tall light columns and 
lofty pointed arches of the square-ended apse, to 
pray for them before fighting for them. 

Her horse was rested, she must on now, her 
people to the northward need her. 

Refreshed by her vespers, Jeanne pushed on 
towards the great forest of Fontainebleau in that 
' quiet evening light which dissipates all unrest.' 
Leaving behind her the fir-fringed line of the 
Vernisson hills tipped with highly-charged electric 
clouds, and Souppes among the streams, she rode 
straight across the broken, irregular ground and 
partially reclaimed woodland descending into and 
then rising again across the vale, or rather ravine, 
of the small river Loing. 

It is uneasy riding among these boulders and 
grey stones, and masses of yellow rock which time 
has aged to grey, ever cropping out among the hills. 
The high ground slopes broadly and insensibly off 
both ways, looking what it is, like the watershed 
of great rivers. It is now further drained by a 
canal. Streams meander in the purpling sunset; 
nightingales flood the air with melody from out 
the black fringe of firs against the sundown ; 
and beyond the streams a long line of thinly- 
leafed poplars stands out like a border of black 
lace ' woven in black distinctness ' upon the 



304 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

pale amber sky ; then day entirely sinks be- 
hind the dark trees above the charcoal-burners' 
glimmer in the forest by Nemours, called so from 
the woods (nemora) which formerly surrounded 
it ; and according to the conceit of a modern Dutch 
poet, translated from his quaint homely jargon, 
' The slender sickle of the moon passes through 
the corn-field of the stars, and now and then one 
of the severed ears is seen to drop.' 

Mingled with the trill of nightingales, the deep 
voices of dogs were heard baying the moon as 
Jeanne's small party drew up to rest for the night, 
under the stars possibly, the falling stars ' darting 
their artillery forth.' The dogs howling, an omen 
of death. ' The dog ' (the Arabs say) ' can distin- 
guish the awful form of Azrael, the angel of death, 
hovering over the doomed abode, whereas man's 
spiritual sight is dull and dim by reason of his 
sins.' Probably there was no busy bustle of an 
inn to welcome them ; for we do not know 
whether Nemours would have received them or 
not : it may have belonged to the enemy, and 
Jeanne Avould not have been permitted to 
venture her person in a town where she might 
have been made prisoner. They three had ridden 
about thirty-five miles to-day. 

The sun, breaking through dense masses of white- 
piled cloud, shone out cheerfully next morning; the 
air was fragrant with the scent of turpentine from 
the pine-trees, as, leavingto the eastward Thomery, 
nestling in its vineyards, the travellers approached 
the forest of Fontainebleau on the St. Germain and 



THE ROYAL IDOL BROKEN. 305 

Franchard side. This is still a wild country (kept 
artificially so in some measure), though it is now 
crossed by good straight hunting roads in all direc- 
tions, and featured hereabout by the large and lofty 
railway- viaduct of thirty arches over the Loing. 
At the landmarks, such as fountain-springs, famous 
trees, or the buttressed ruins of a monastery, toy- 
sellers with cuckoo-whistles spring out now-a-days 
upon the traveller, destroying all impression of 
the sublime, and touts drag him off to the various 
points of view, such as 'Maria Theresa's belvedere ' 
and the ' Weeping Rock.' One cannot give oneself 
up unreservedly to the spirit of the place, which 
even now is only a half-reclaimed chaos. 

Jeanne had the forest to herself; only the deer 
sprang startlingly across the bewildered path, 
made more confused by gleams of fitful sunshine. 
It was a fit scene for a struggle with mental an- 
guish, this valley strewn with rocks and ruins. 
Sad and dispirited, Jeanne moved here like an 
outcast in a savage, gloomy land, like the land of 
Nod. Looking back on those days so ' prodigal of 
happiness,' when she was all in all to king and 
country, it seemed noAV as if the fatal charge of 
sorcery truly branded her brow, and she was a 
dread to her own party as well as a curse to the 
foe. There were few, very few to return her love 
and services with any gentle caress, and those few 
were the most likely to die by her side. 

' I've heard of hearts unkind ; kind deeds 
With coldness still returning. 
Alas ! the gratitude of man 
Has oftener left me mourning.' 



306 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

Her check at La Charite, magnified to a phan- 
tom of failure through the mist of her own sensi- 
tiveness, was only to be retrieved by a new and 
more difficult attempt upon Paris. The wind 
music moaned through the tree stems, thrillingly, 
like gigantic reed-stops in a mighty organ. 
Among the sun blotches on the shaded forest, 
the great ^ Pharamond ' tree, a sturdy young giant 
in Jeanne's tin>e, stood like a luminous sky- 
reaching line, surrounded by the sinuous stems 
of tall beeches seeking and struggling up to the 
light; the scented woods all vigorous in their 
mounting sap ; the young green sprays pushing off 
the old shrivelled leaves. Squirrels skim from 
branch to branch, like shooting stars in the 
curve of their smooth, swift-gliding movement ; 
ground game and feathered game peep out shyly 
from among the junipers, and vermin creep tor- 
tuously among the stones, while Jeanne waits, 
dreamily resting until her companions can discover 
their further way. Near where a ferruginous 
rill trickles from a rock set in golden genista, she 
gazes over the broad view of the Valley of the 
SoUe. They had to complete another ride of 
thirty-five miles before they could reach Melun, 
and must not lose themselves in the recesses of 
the forest. The opportunity of asking the way 
of a charcoal-burner or chance forester must not 
be missed. 

The light bursting forth in noontide strength 
among the tangled shadows of the stems made 
the scene more dazzling and difficult to compre- 



THE ROYAL IDOL BROKEN, 307 

hend than in the greyness chased away. The ex- 
panse of what is now called the Valley of William 
Tell must then have been a pathless labyrinth. 
One now climbs by a gentle ascent the ravine, 
half hidden by broken foregrounds. Higher up, 
the path joins another coming from Belle-Croix. 
Here one should turn to the right, following the 
rocky crests which command a range of ravines 
on the left. Advancing by the line of a rampart 
of rocks bristling on the right, one arrives at the 
Belvedere of Jeanne d'Arc, the highest point, 
giving a fine view over the Rocher St. Germain 
and the Valley of the Solle. This little-known 
spot, deeply sequestered in the wildest part of 
the forest, holds the only remaining tradition of 
the passage of the heroine. The winding path 
descends among masses of sandstone, clumps of 
beeches and aged junipers ; the fine oak of King 
Robert, which is a landmark in the direction of 
the gorges of Franchard and Apremont, showing 
the direction to take in the dasdalus of ravines, 
hills, heaps of sandstone, and coppices by those 
who seek this spot, named after the Maid of Or- 
leans, which lies, least visited of any, in the very 
heart of the forest. Jeanne must have crossed 
the forest in this journey by striking across from 
Uri, which is on the Orleans road to Fontaine- 
bleau, passing by La Croix de Franchard, La Croix 
du Grand Veneur, Mont St. Pere, La Croix du 
Beau Filleul, La Croix de la Table du Grand 
Maitre, La Croix des Becassieres, and the Plaine 
and Bois de la Rochette. 

x2 



308 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

It was at the Croix du Grand Veneur that 
Henri IV. is said to have met the spectral black 
huntsman who haunts the forest, and who, as the 
legend goes, predicted the king's death shortly 
before his assassination by Ravaillac. 

Lightning playing among the broken grandeur 
of these wastes gives an indescribably solemn eifect. 
So wide a horizon illumined by flashes, revealing 
the destruction that is even now going on among 
the trees, makes it seem as if the whole wilderness 
had been thrown into chaos by the storm, as the 
lurid light, bursting forth Avith fierce cleaving 
strength, displays a shattered and a ruined world. 
It has a more bewildering character than a storm 
at sea, from the vivid revelations of blackness 
and contorted shapes cut dazzlingly against the 
momentary light. The wild birds' hooting has re- 
placed the nightingales, the deer run tremblingly 
to covert, the vermin and small game to their 
nooks and holes ; travellers seek the most fre- 
quented path as dusk closes in, for to be entangled 
in such a forest at night, with a storm devastating 
the country round, is a danger to be shunned even 
by the bravest warriors. 

It would have been probably as evening closed 
on her second day's journey that Jeanne and 
her companions cast about them for a shelter for 
the night. They may have sought and found it 
within the town, then a hamlet, of Fontainebleau, 
where there was a small royal hunting castle, built 
in 1162 by Louis VII. ; but more likely they took 
shelter in the monastery, whose wall alone remains. 



rHE ROYAL IDOL BROKEN. 309 

We have no means of knowing certainly where 
Jeanne d'Arc halted in this unrecorded journey, 
but, as it is by the most direct route a ride of 
over seventy miles from Sully to Melun, she 
could not have performed it in less than two 
days' hard riding ; and, as the country is un- 
usually broken and difficult, she most likely found 
two resting-places before reaching Melun on the 
third day's journey. 

From Sully to Montargis is twenty -four miles ; 
from Montargis to Nemours nineteen miles ; 
Nemours to the Belvedere of Jeanne d'Arc about 
seventeen ; thence to Melun about ten miles. 
These distances are only ajjproximately given by 
the modern roads, which are still not direct from 
point to point. At that time, of course, the paths 
must have been more circuitous. 

The morning light again showed the scene 
diiferently. The Fontaine de Belle Eau sparkled 
freshly for Jeanne's morning draught (she drank 
nothing but water) before setting out on her ten 
miles' ride among the green-tasselled firs and 
yellow genista of the Valley of the Solle, and by 
the Seine winding through the woods at Bois-le- 
Roy, w^here charcoal-burners w^ere busy at their 
work, and oxen were drawing loads of faggots and 
provisions into Melun. From far beyond where 
the Seine winds round under the hill-side, which 
casts the reflection of its undulating woods into 
the water, the twin towers of the town are visible. 
Now-a-days there is a tall spire at Melun, and a 
second double tower : but these Jeanne saw not. 



310 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

Her object was to go to Lagny, where her friends 
were fighting, but she may have felt she helped 
the cause best by her efforts at Melun, creating a 
diversion in their favour, as we hear from out 
their camp, ' Good news arrived from Yonne and 
Seine. Sens "turned French," Melun revolted. 
Paris even felt an upstirring ;' and we know from 
general history that at the instigation of Jeanne 
d'Arc the people of Melun under her leadership 
rose against the English and constrained them to 
take refuge in the castle, which was forced to 
capitulate after twelve days of siege. 

We also know she was at Melun in the Easter 
week, about the 15th of April, 1430, and the truce 
would expire on the 17th of April, when she 
could legitimately begin to fight the Burgundians 
at Lagny. With the English there was no truce, 
so we are at liberty to suppose that the siege of 
Melun Castle was before this. 

Jeanne entered Melun in the teeth of the Eng- 
lish garrison. She had confidence in the courage 
of its inhabitants, who had proved themselves 
valiant ten years before. 

In 1420, Melun, which was enclosed within 
strong walls, defended itself with admirable 
energy against the King of England, Henry V., 
and the Duke of Burgundy, his ally. ' Les 
compaignons du dedans,' says an old monkish 
historian, ' tiroient de grand couraige de canon et 
d'arbalestes, et plusieurs en tuoient. Et entre les 
aultres, y avoit un compaignon qu'on disoit estre 
religieux de I'ordre de Sainct Augustin, done 



THE ROYAL IDOL BROKEN. 311 

Simon, moyne de Jard, pres Melun, tres-bon 
arbalestrier, auquel on fit bailler une tres-bonne 
et tres-forte arbaleste. Et quand les Anglois et 
les Bourguignons venoient pres des fosses, et 
qu'il les pouvait apercevoir, il ne failloit point a 
les tuer, et diet-on que lui tout seul, il tua bien 
soixante hommes d'armes sans les aultres. (' The 
companions inside fired cannon and crossbow with 
great courage, and killed several. Among the rest 
there was a companion that they said was a monk 
of the order of St. Augustin, Father Simon, monk 
of Jard, near Melun, a very good crossbowman, to 
whom they gave a very good and very strong cross- 
bow. And when the English and the Burgundians 
came near the moats, and he could see them, he 
never failed to kill them, and they say that he alone 
killed fully sixty men-at-arms without the others.') 
The town only surrendered when there remained 
not a horse, nor a dog, nor a cat to eat. The monk 
was beheaded after the capitulation. Such a 
brave town deserved succour when it desired to 
free itself from the foreign rule, which was exer- 
cised with great severity : and this was a piece 
of work after Jeanne's own heart. She recovered 
the good town ; in memory of which, in Saint 
Aspais, the lofty principal church of Melun, 
built in the fifteenth century, there is on the 
exterior of the chevet a bronze medallion, by 
Chapu, mounted in 1872, representing ^Jeanne 
d'Arc, deliverer of Melun, 1430.' It has been 
said of Mahomet that he owed his wonderful suc- 
cess at least as much to his intense nationality as 



812 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

to any other cause, whether natural or super- 
natural. It was the same with Jeanne d'Arc, 
she represented the feeling of the nation. 

The restored church of Notre Dame, which 
dates from the tenth century, has two fine roman- 
esque towers ; one leaves this to the right in the 
island before crossing the principal arm of the river. 

In Jeanne's time many Roman remains were 
visible at Melun. Some have recently been ex- 
humed while making alterations and excavations 
in the Place of Notre Dame in 1864 ; they are 
chiefly fragments of sculpture, bas-reliefs, and a 
statuette and inscriptions of the time of Drusus 
Germanicus, brother of Tiberius. Of Csesar's 
tower, sole vestige of the dwelling of the Frank- 
ish kings of France, only the foundation remains. 
The tower was destroyed in the eighteenth 
century. 

It was while standing on the towers of Melun, 
looking beyond the orchards and the lines of trees 
by the roads which here lead the eye so far into 
the distance, and away to the dense woods on 
the ascent to the table land of La Brie, that 
Jeanne hearkened while her Voices told her she 
would be taken prisoner before St. John's Day, 
24th of June. This they repeated to her every 
day. They announced her captivity as a thing 
to which she must submit, and Jeanne, though 
she felt death would be preferable, went on with- 
out hesitation to the accomplishment of her work. 
She had passed out of despondency to rekindled 
enthusiasm. 



THE ROYAL IDOL BROKEN. 313 

It was now April. The fresh spring air played 
about her : she was again among earnest people 
and not among triflers, such as those cour- 
tiers at Bourges, who had made the long winter 
evenings seem so terribly long by playing at 
cards all through them. She was roused and in- 
vigorated by the remembrance that she had a 
work to do, and excited rather than daunted by 
the near expectation of death for a noble cause. 

Here upon the towers of Melun, surrounded by 
the music of the bells, her Voices spoke more and 
more clearly to her ear : and who shall say that 
this choice spirit did not apprehend more clearly 
than the duller world the messages from Heaven 
always ringing round us ? 



314 



CHAPTER XV. 



COMPIEGNE. 



' Quand j'aurai fait ce pourquoi je suis envoyee de par Dieu, je 
prendrai I'habit de femme.' (' When I shall have done that for which 
I have been sent by God, I will put on woman's dress.') 

Jeanne (TArc to her jailers. 

Melun safe, the Maid crossed the high land of 
Brie and pushed on to Lagny-sur-Marne, at about 
thirty miles distance. Here she led off by a bril- 
liant action against some marauders, said to be 
English, but, as they rode under the leadership 
of a gentleman named Franquet d' Arras, this is 
very doubtful. Lagny, which had fought brave- 
ly, was relieved and made safe, and the Maid 
pushed on to join her friends at Senlis. 

At Lagny-sur-Marne there are now vast choco- 
late works and a model village. The colony 
comprises model artisans' dwellings, schools, co- 
operative stores, savings' banks, reading-rooms, 
and other social experiments in working order ; 
all well worth seeing. 

The news of the return of the Maid to the scene 
of action rang through Paris, rousing the supersti- 
tious terror of the enemy. Even Bedford was 



COMPIEGNE. 815 

alarmed, and wrote a ' proclamation against the 
tardy captains and soldiers, terrified by the en- 
chantments of the Pucelle.' 

The castle of Borenglise, between Compiegne 
and Ressons, seems to have been her headquarters 
at this time, as we find her often moving between 
Compiegne, Senlis, and other towns, to fall upon 
the Duke of Burgundy, who was now besieging 
Choisy-sur-Aisne. The leaders were delighted at 
her arrival, for she was worth a legion to them, 
and they were all of them her personal friends. 
Their object now was to succour Choisy. Jeanne, 
Saintrailles, and others attempted without success 
to force the passage of the Oise at Pont I'Eveque, 
hoping by the capture of this place to cut off the 
Burgundian supplies. 

Monstrelet the Burgundian is the only writer 
of the time who speaks of the Compiegne expedi- 
tion and the fruitless attack on Pont I'Eveque, a 
town situated at less than a mile (six hundred 
toises) to the south of Noyon, which was defended 
by a detachment of the English army. Jeanne, 
Chabanne, Saintrailles, and others came with two 
thousand men from Compiegne to attack the 
English. The Burgundians, running up for the 
defence of their allies, placed the French between 
two fires, and they had to fall back upon Com- 
piegne. 

They remounted the Aisne purposing to cross it 
at Soissons; but, the traitor B our mel refusing them 
admittance within the gates of Soissons, they 
were compelled to take a retrograde circuit to- 



316 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

wards Compi^gne, and the force gathered to 
rescue Choisy dispersed. Jeanne returned afflicted 
to Compiegne. This was very soon after the 17th 
of April, for the duke laid siege to Choisy-sur- 
Aisne immediately on the conclusion of the truce, 
in order to clear his path for the capture of 
Compiegne. 

Paris, La Charite, and Pont I'Eveque were 
Jeanne's three failures ; against which we have 
to place the fact that she took part in more than 
twenty battles, fights, sieges, or raising of sieges, 
without speaking of her travels. Berriat St. Prix 
calculates that in fifteen months she travelled 
over more than nine hundred leagues as the crow 
flies, and, allowing for obstacles, twelve or thir- 
teen hundred leagues, in the service of the king. 
After it had been revealed to her at Melun that 
she would be taken prisoner, she ceased to act 
further on her own responsibility, but referred 
nearly everything in the war to the will of the 
captains. Although she was no longer acting 
under the direct guidance of her Voices, her 
presence with the army was a great moral sup- 
port. She represented, only with deeper loyalty, 
the heart of all independent France in her time ; 
independent either in thought or in geographical 
situation, Dunois and La Hire were faithful to 
the kingdom, Jeanne to the king. It was hard 
to them to see their life's work slighted, the king- 
dom so gaily lost. A tradition preserved in that 
country says that Jeanne made a pilgrimage to 
the church of Elaincourt St. Catherine, one of her 



COMPIEGNE. 317 

patron saints, about the end of April, ] 430. This 
is a romanesque church of the twelfth century. 

Wallon attributes to near this date the story 
of Jeanne being in the church of St. Jacques at 
Compifegne, and standing near a pillar of the 
church, where many persons and children were 
assembled to see her. She addressed them, ' My 
children and dear friends, I tell you that I have 
been betrayed and sold, and shall soon be de- 
livered up to death. Thus I beseech you to pray 
for me, for never more shall I have power to 
serve the king and realm of France.' 

But we have no authority for any of the 
legends of this time, save tradition and the little 
book published early in the sixteenth century 
called the ' Mirouer des Femmes vertueuses.' 
Monstrelet, the only reliable historian, is too 
decidedly Jeanne's enemy for us to hear from 
him more than the barest facts, and these are 
coloured by his animosity. The legend seems 
to be a confused account of something that 
really happened. One can only draw from it 
the inference that she was much beloved. 

Compiegne was the key of the kingdom on the 
Burgundian side, and Jeanne fully understood 
its value. On the 13th of May the Maid arrived 
at the town, and redoubled the ardour and confi- 
dence of the inhabitants by her presence. She 
did not shut herself up in the town, but multi- 
plied herself, in order to revive the zeal of those 
who still upheld the cause of the king. She was 
at Crepy on the 23rd of May, whither she went to 



318 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC, 

seek more men, whom she hastened to bring to 
Compiegne, She gathered volunteers the more 
anxiously that at Crej)y she heard that the Duke 
of Burgundy and the Earl of Arundel were al- 
ready come to sit down before Compiegne. 

By midnight she had assembled from three to 
four hundred men-at-arms, and, though they told 
her these were very few to cross the enemy's camp, 
' We are enough,' she said. ^ I will go to see my 
good friends of Compiegne.' She rode off with 
them at once. At sunrise on the 24th of May 
she entered the town without loss or harm. 

The ' EncyclopaBdia Britannica ' (1856) says : 
^ The Maid threw herself into Compiegne contrary 
to the wishes of the governor, who desired not the 
company of one whose authority would be greater 
than his own :' but this has been shown to be a 
mistaken opinion. 

The Maid took the sacrament in the church of 
St. Jacques on the 24th of May, 1430. When I 
was at Compiegne on last May 24th, the tall fir- 
trees groved round the altar of the Madonna 
smelt very sweet, and the steps and the whole 
altar elevation were a mass of white flowers. It 
was a beautiful sight. But the renaissance 
decorations on the marble facing and the modern 
wainscoting all over the church give it a very 
different aspect from what it had in Charles 
VII. 's reign. In the roof of the choir of St. 
Jacques the groined arches meet in a central 
starry boss, as they do in Amiens cathedral. 
The western tower was built for a much larger 



COMPIEGNE. 319 

church, or else this one was never extended the 
full length of its plan. One sees the spring of 
the arches that were to have been built. The 
present west front is of the sixteenth century. 
The choir is of the thirteenth century. A double 
narrow triforium gallery runs round above and 
before the chapels of the apse, which are of the 
fifteenth century. In the fifth side altar to the 
right, on entering from the west door, a painted 
window represents Jeanne d'Arc receiving the 
sacrament on the 24th of May, 1430. Her saints, 
the Voices, appear above her, her standard waves 
in the background ; she is clad in complete steel. 
It was in this chapel that she received the sacra- 
ment on the morning of the fight. 

There is a bronze statue of the Maid in front 
of the picturesque Hotel de Ville, with the in- 
scription, ' JE YRAY VOIR MES BONS AMIS 
DE COMPIEGNE, 1430.' 

The town of Compiegne, itself defended on the 
Burgundian frontier by the Oise, commands the 
river and the valley which extends on the oppo- 
site side in low water-meadows about three- 
quarters of a mile broad, behind which a broken 
wall of hills rises on the borders of Picardy. 
The hills rise slightly on both sides of the river. 

The Maid left the town about five in the even- 
ing to assist in dislodging the enemy from their 
positions. The town was far from being invested, 
the enemy only holding the opposite bank of the 
river. The Duke of Burgundy was at Coudun 
on the Aronde, a league away from Compiegne to 



320 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

the north ; Jean de Luxembourg was somewhat 
nearer, at Clairoix, on the confluence of the 
Aronde and Oise. Baudon de Noyelle com- 
manded a detached corps at Margny, a suburban 
village opposite Compiegne, at the issue of the 
road from the bridge. The English were en- 
camped at Venette on the west. 

The Maid's plan was to take the village of 
Margny, thence to pursue the dislodged Burgun- 
dians to Clairoix, where she hoped to be victori- 
ous, and then return to attack the English at 
Venette. She reckoned on the people of Com- 
pi^gne stopping the English at the road beyond 
the bridge, in case of their falling upon her rear. 

The plan was carried out at first as she in- 
tended. She fell upon Jean de Luxembourg, who 
was at Margny taking observations. He was 
surprised with the rest, and driven back on 
Clairoix, but, succours coming up, the battle was 
disputed, and the result delayed. The English 
moved forward to profit by the delay, but their 
movement was foreseen, and the archers of Com- 
piegne were so disposed as to render their passage 
of the road difi[icult. Nevertheless, their move- 
ment alarmed the rear rank of the Maid's force. 
They feared to have their return cut ofl*, and, 
flying towards the shelter of the town, they met 
with the mischance they dreaded. The English, 
encouraged by their flight, threw themselves 
more eagerly upon the road, and were there pro- 
tected by the flying soldiers themselves, as their 
friends within Compi^gne were afraid of striking 



COMPIEGNE. 321 

them as well as the English ; and, on the other 
hand, the Buro^undians fouo^ht still more strenu- 
ously against those who remained with the Maid, 
who was now wounded in defence of Compiegne. 
Ah'eady her troops began to fall back, and insisted 
upon her regaining the town. They turned and 
fled in spite of her endeavours, and she could 
only cover their retreat. Friend and foe crowded 
together disputing the passage of the bridge, and 
Flavy, the governor of Compiegne, fearing the 
enemy might thus enter the town, raised the 
drawbrido:e and shut the oate, leavino- the Maid 
outside. Quicherat says : ' She was pushed, with 
her friends, into the angle formed by the side of 
the boulevard and the slope of the causeway.' 
She was called upon by five or six men to yield 
herself prisoner and to give her parole. She re- 
fused to do this to the common men, and fought 
on until dragged from her horse by the long 
skirt of lier tunic. An archer pulled her violent- 
ly ' par sa huque (casaque) de drap d'or vermeil.' 
She loved the o^races and eleo;ancies of woman- 
hood, and they proved a snare to her. 

The archer was a man belonging to one of 
Jean de Luxembourg's knights. Her brother 
Pierre du Lys, D'Aulon, her squire, and Pothon 
de Saintrailles, who never left her, were captured 
at the same time. The spot of her capture, mark- 
ed by the ruined tower called Tour de la Pucelle, 
in the Rue du Meux Pont, is visible on the right 
hand in entering the town from the railway. 

Thus was the Maid taken at the gates of Com- 

Y 



322 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

piegne, abandoned by those whom she came to 
succour, where without her aid the governor 
must have succumbed. Had he attempted an 
energetic sortie he might have relieved the bridge 
and saved the Maid, who was worth a province to 
the French. People have cried out upon his 
treachery in thus abandoning her ; it is his want 
of courage and presence of mind that they should 
blame ; the half-heartedness of which those in 
highest places set the enervating example. The 
^ Mirouer des Femmes vertueuses ' makes a long 
story of Flavy's purposely shutting her out of 
Compiegne, but it is little credible. William 
Caxton, born 1412, the same year as Jeanne d'Arc, 
prints the following concerning her : ' This mayde 
rode lyke a man, & was a valyaunt capitayn among 
them, & toke upon her many grete enterprises. 
After many grete feates she was taken, & many 
other capitayns with her, & judged by the lawe 
to be brent. The othere capitayns were put to 
raunson, & entreated as men of warre ben 
accustomed.' 

The 24th of May, the eve of Ascension, was 
that which saw her tide of fortune turn. A year, 
as she had foretold, was her comet path from Ascen- 
sion at Orleans till now. The next 24th of May 
saw her condemnation to death at Rouen. Thus 
says Lenglet de Fresnoy, ' She, ennobled, could 
not surrender to the archer, but to the gentleman, 
le Batard de Vandomme. Her presence of mind 
pointed this out to her.' 

Jeanne is supposed to have predicted her 



COMPIEGNE. 323 

capture, but she says plainly that, had she known 
she would have been taken, she would not have 
left Compiegne that day : and this is in accord- 
ance with her habitual good sense. She affirmed 
that she knew she should be captured before St. 
John's Day, bub she knew not when or where. 
She was prepared for captivity and death ; but 
she could never have believed that her friends 
would allow her to be sold to her enemies, and put 
to death without raising arm or word in her defence. 
Her history while a prisoner has been told by 
MoDstrelet, chronicler of the Burgundian faction, 
who was present with the Duke of Burgundy 
when Jeanne was taken prisoner. She was con- 
stantly watched by enemies eager to wrest every 
word or act to her disadvantage, to be used 
against her at her trial : a circumstance which 
proves that her conduct during the year of her 
imprisonment was well-nigh perfect, as good 
and pure as her whole life was ; this year, upon 
her enemies' own showing, was the crowning 
beauty of her career. It is this which makes her 
looked upon as a saint and martyr. She was 
taken at first to the camp at Margny, and after 
three or four days passed in the camp, Jean de 
Luxembourg, from fear of rescue in keeping her 
so close to the besieged town, sent her to his 
castle at Beaulieu, near Noyon on the Vorse. She 
was strongly escorted, as she refused to give her 
word that she would not attempt to escape, hold- 
ing herself always in readiness to continue her 
work which was thus interrupted. Her route to 

Y 2 



324 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

Beaulieu was most probably by the right bank of 
the Oise to Noyon. 

At Beaulieu she was parted from her faithful 
friend and squire, Jean d'Aulon, whose deposition 
in her favour is couched in terms of deepest 
respect and admiration. 

Lebrun de Charmettes says d'Aulon had ceased 
to accompany her some short time after St. Pierre- 
le-Moustier, so that he was not with her at 
Fontainebleau and Lagny. I cannot find his au- 
thority for this, and it appears certain from all 
evidence that d'Aulon accompanied her from 
Sully to Compiegne. I know it is difficult to 
harmonise all the old historians' statements : one 
can only do it by dates and a good map ; but I do 
not find one of the later historians infallible. 
Lenglet de Fresnoy places Jeanne's imprisonment 
of four months at Le Crotoy as taking place before 
she was taken to Beaurevoir, which is manifestly 
absurd, and only to be accounted for by suppos- 
ing he accidentally wrote Le Crotoy for Beaulieu. 
Even the careful and admirable Quicherat in one 
place says St. Pierre-le-Moustier was taken in 
December, 1429, which cannot be reconciled with 
his other dates, and can only be explained as a slip 
of the pen. The lesser writers abound in mistakes. 
I trust I have not as often laid myself open to the 
same charge. 

Jeanne dwelt a prisoner at Beaulieu for three 
months, from the end of May to August, Compiegne 
holding out all the while. Meanwhile whose prize 
was Jeanne d'Arc? 



COMPIEGNE. 325 

She had been taken hi the diocese of Beauvais. 
Pierre Cauchon, the Count-bishop, came on the 
14th of July to the camp near Compiegne to de- 
mand her of the Duke of Burgundy as his prisoner. 
The bishop, in the name of the English, offered 
ten thousand francs of gold for her : the price at 
which, according to French custom, the king had 
the right to ransom to himself any prisoner, even 
of the blood royal. The money was raised in 
Normandy and in the conquered provinces, and 
eventually paid as ten thousand livres tournois ; 
61,125 fcs. 69cs. of our time (£2, 445 7d. English), 
a large sum in the value of that period. The 
French had eventually to pay the money that 
England offered. They had better have supported 
Jeanne. 

She said at her trial that her brothers had charge 
of her property, her horses, and (she believed) her 
sword, and effects to the value of ten or twelve 
thousand crowns; she adds, 'And this is not a large 
sum to carry on the war.' (' Ce n'est pas grand 
tresor a mener la guerre.') The money belonged to 
the king, she said. Her brothers held it in deposit. 
Had she possessed much money, she would have 
had more power, and she might have ransomed 
herself. When asked if the king had given her 
other wealth than the horse she rode when taken 
prisoner, she replied she had never asked any- 
thing of the king except good arms, good horses, 
and money to pay the people where she lodged. 

At Orleans, Blois, Tours, etc., they ordered 
public prayers and processions for her deliver- 



326 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D\iRC. 

ance, but Charles, King of France, offered 
nothing; for her. 

The Archbishop of Rheiuis, in writing to his 
episcopal town announcing her capture, calls it a 
judgment upon her because she would not take 
advice, but did everything according to her own 
pleasure. Rewrote of how a young 'pastour' 
from the mountains had come to offer the same 
promises to the king as Jeanne had done, and 
told them that God had suffered Jeanne to be 
taken because she was puffed up with pride and 
loved rich clothing, etc. This was convenient 
and comfortable doctrine to those who did not 
wish to be further troubled with Jeanne d'Arc, 
nor by their own conscience. It seems to have 
silenced public opinion. 

Jeanne very nearly escaped from Beaulieu. 
She was already outside the tower, and, to make 
her flight more secure, she was just locking her 
jailers inside, when the warder perceived and 
recaptured her. The Lord of Luxembourg, 
alarmed, took her to his castle of Beaurevoir, 
near Cambrai, where it would be safer to keep 
her than so near the scene of action. Leaving 
the neighbourhood of Noyon, formerly the resi- 
dence of Charlemagne and tlugh Capet, with its 
exquisite cathedral, whose two tall towers were 
alone visible to Jeanne, the troop with their 
prisoner had the choice of two roads ; either the 
one by Guiscard, thence crossing the ridge which 
divides the basin of the Seine from that of the 
Somine, and arriving at Ham. which is twelve 



COMPIEGNE, ' 327 

miles from Guiscard. (The castle of Ham was not 
built until forty years later, that strong, dreary 
donjon where Napoleon III. was kept for six years 
a state prisoner.) Leaving Ham in its marshes 
on the right and the village of Nesle on the 
left, the road crosses the Somme by the very 
ford which Henry V. crossed two days before 
the battle of Agincourt in 1415. 

Or else they followed the southern road, by 
which the distance from Noyon to St. Quentin, 
which lies on the road to Cambrai, is over forty 
miles. 

In any case, they must have halted at some fortress 
on the way. The noble castle of Coucy lies most 
conveniently for such a purpose, causing them no 
great detour, if indeed they did not take the more 
southern road which passes directly under the 
walls. This vast model of a perfect feudal castle, 
one of the most superb in France, towers above 
the water-meadows of the Oise, proud as its 
builder's motto — 

' Roy je lie suis, Prince, ni Comte aussi, 
Je suis le Sire cle Coucy.' 

Coucy was then a castle of the Duke of Or- 
leans. Saintrailles was governor of it for the 
duke, who was still a prisoner in England. But 
Saintrailles was now a prisoner himself, and the 
castle, being impregnable, was taken by surprise. 
Not at this time, we may presume ; but, even if 
the little troop did not halt here, the castle could not 
now have threatened the safety of their passage. 

Coucy has the loftiest tower in France, and 



328 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

four lesser towers. Its proud hall was filled at 
that time with wonders of painting and sculptures 
of sacred and historical heroes in white marble, 
and between the two chimney-pieces was a raised 
tribune remarkable for the beauty of its sculp- 
tures, all the work of one hand. ' If I had not 
seen it with my own eyes,' says Astezan, ' I could 
not have believed that leaves and fruits and other 
minute objects could have been sculptured out of 
such hard stone.' The painted glass surpassed 
imagination. ' In one room,' says Astezan, in his 
piece intituled, ' De varietate fortunae,' ' are novem 
mulieres probae : Semiramis, Thomyris, De'iphile, 
Lampeto, Menalippe, Marpesia, Orithyia, Penthesi- 
lea, and Hippolyta, admirably wrought.' The 
Maid of Orleans was inferior to none of them. 
^ The kitchen was worthy of Nero. They preserve 
under the lead roof fish like in a fish-pond.' 
There were three gradations of prisons (humanes 
career) on the ground-floor for small ofl'ences, and 
for crimes, a fiightful cell underground. Most 
likely Jeanne was imprisoned in none of these, 
but only strongly guarded in a tower. Coucy 
is now the ideal ruined castle. 

The road, after turning aside to Coucy, follows 
the sandy flats and shallows by the Somme to 
near St. Quentin, whose canal now connects the 
Somme with the Scheldt, as it joins it on the 
other side with the Seine, the Loire, and the 
Atlantic Ocean. St. Quentin is built upon a 
hill, a rarity in this part of the country. The 
greenish-grey cathedral, with its flying buttresses 



COMPIEGNE. 329 

and hi^h rid^-es of slate roof, dominates the whole 
district, itself overtopped by lordly Laon to the 
south. There is a sweet Meralingesque fresco in 
a side chapel of the cathedral, the second from 
the door. Murray calls this one of the finest, 
boldest, and purest Gothic buildings in this part 
of France, and says it is less known than it ought 
to be. St. Quentin is supposed to be nothing 
but a manufacturing place ; but besides the 
Flemish-Gothic Hotel de Ville, which is delight- 
ful, the town is picturesquely situated. It un- 
fortunately lies oiF the group of favourite Flemish 
towns, and people do not care to stop here (nor 
even at Laon, which well deserves a visit, on the 
longer railway journeys). There are so many 
places it seems better worth while to know. 
There is a statue in the town, a female figure with 
a spinning-wheel, defended by General Faidherbe 
with his spectacles on. The verse of inscription 
by Victor Hugo is as flabby as any local poet's 
heroics, perhaps only worthy of our own street 
statuary. 

From St. Quentin to Busigny is eleven and a 
half level miles ; between Busigny and Cambrai 
(a town whose chief interest lies in its name, 
which is cognate Avith many pleasant ideas) lay 
the castle of Beaurevoir, in the midst of woods. 
Little remains of the castle of Beaurevoir beyond 
the broken stone, carved with the eagle-supported 
shield of John of Luxembourg, charged with the 
two-tailed rampant lion, that forms the lintel of 
a door. Here resided the wife and aunt of this 



330 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'AHC. 

lord of Luxembourg, who, the younger son of a 
noble family, had been chosen for her heir by his 
aunt, the Countess of St. Pol and Ligny. These 
ladies were very kind to Jeanne, who won the 
love of all good women. The old Countess of 
Ligny implored her nephew not to sully by an 
ineffaceable stain the imperial and royal shield of 
Luxembourg, by delivering up the Maid of Or- 
leans to her enemies. It was too late ; he had 
already sold the Pucelle for a royal ransom. 

She was confined in a very lofty donjon for 
safety, a high tower girdled by space, in which 
towns lay as misty islands, and in the ocean of 
flat country round her Jeanne must have yearned 
for her hills and sparkling floods of Lorraine, as 
moon after moon arose and shone in silver calm 
on this unbroken expanse. She was kindly and 
respectfully treated, according to the rank she 
had acquired, and not as a mere peasant ; but she 
refused the women's clothes that were ofl*ered 
her, saying she had not yet leave from the Lord 
to wear them ; though were she permitted to re- 
sume a woman's dress, which would imply that 
she renounced her mission, she had rather do so 
at the request of those ladies than any other 
ladies in France, her queen alone excejDted. But 
her work was not yet done. Nor was it by her- 
self, but she had roused the spirit of France, and 
the deliverance from a foreign yoke would be 
achieved in time, even though she were ' crushed 
by the ponderous machinery which herself had 
put in motion.' 



COMPIEGNE. 831 

Doubtless she, who said no one could teach her 
anything in spinning or in sewing, worked with 
her needle with the ladies of the castle — at embroi- 
dery, perhaps, as she had during the last fifteen 
months learned many of the habits of noble 
ladies, and she had not much clothins: to make 
for herself. She could do these things skilfully, 
and she liked to do them, but when reproached 
at her trial for leaving alone women's work and 
acting like men, she remarked, ' As for women's 
work, there are enough women besides myself to 
do it.' 

But her heart was far away — away with her 
friends at Compiegne, still holding out for France. 
She pined to be with them. She has herself re- 
lated the spiritual combat between her wishes 
and her visions, to which she had hitherto been 
so obedient. Her Voices told her daily that God 
would help her and Compiegne too in their ex- 
tremity, but she must be patient. The painful 
conflict lasted long, and when at last they told 
her that the town was on the eve of being taken, 
and the inhabitants put to the sword, she cried, 
in a transport of grief and reproach, ' How can 
God let die those good people of Compiegne, who 
have been so loyal to their lord !' The struggle 
between faith and knowledge was too strained, 
and, recommending herself to God, she let herself 
drop from the top of her tower, only aided in her 
endeavour to clamber down by the climbing 
plants that grew there. She fell to the pavement 
of the court, and they thought her dead; but she 



3S2 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

had only lost her senses and her memory, and 
they had to tell her she had leaped from the sum- 
mit of the tower, which was over sixty feet high. 
For two or three days she could neither eat nor 
drink ; but her Voices comforted her, reproving 
her gently for her imprudence, and ordering her 
to confess her fault and ask God's forgiveness for 
her impatience ; they added, for her consolation, 
that Compiegne should be relieved before the 
winter. In a few days she was recovered from 
her fall. 

The lord of Luxembourg, finding such a pris- 
oner difficult to keep safely, delivered her over, 
notwithstanding his aunt's remonstrances, to the 
officers of the Duke of Burgundy in November, 
1430. 



333 



CHAPTER XVI. 

THE PRISONER OF LE CROTOY. 

' Priez pour raoi. Adieu.' (' Pray for me. Farewell.') 

Jeanne (VArc to the ladies of Abbeville. 

From Beaurevoir Jeanne was taken to Arras, 
where it would seem she made some little stay 
and was not very rigorously imprisoned, as at her 
trial she speaks of a jDortrait of herself she saw 
at Arras, painted by a Scot (Escot), or being car- 
ried by a Scot, for the story is told both ways. 
It represented her, fully armed, presenting a letter 
to the king, kneeling on one knee. She never 
saw or had done any other ' ymaige or painture ' 
of her likeness. 

The three towers of Arras are visible for many 
miles across the plain of Picardy. This tine city 
has still quite a Flemish character, with its gable- 
fronted Gothic houses terminating like those of 
Ghent in scallops and scrollwork, and supported 
on open arcades. Picturesque as is the toAvn in 
many parts, few of its public buildings remain 
as Jeanne saw them : the Hotel de Ville dates no 
earlier than 1510; the cathedral is modern re- 
naissance ; only a fragment remains of the earlier 



334 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC, 

cathedral, destroyed in the time of Robespierre, 
born to be a dishonour to the town. The strong 
castle on the Scarpe, where doubtless Jeanne was 
confined, for she represented great commercial 
and political value, is now one of Vauban's fort- 
resses with lofty ramparts masked by tall trees. 

From Arras to Le Crotoy the direct route lies 
by Doullens, a strong fortress town on the Athie, 
where, nevertheless, we do not hear of her stop- 
ping, but her escort rested with her one night at 
the castle of Drugy, close by the town and abbey 
of St. Riquier, on the road to Abbeville. Of the 
town are now^ to be seen only the ruined towers of 
the ancient ramparts, and the Fontaine de ' Mise- 
en-Deuil.' But the abbey of St. Riquier is well- 
preserved and very splendid. It is one of the 
historical monuments of France. This splendid 
flamboyant Gothic church is, however, of the 
beginning of the sixteenth century • so that 
Jeanne saw very little of what we see in this 
abbey. The choir may be of her time, and there 
are some curious ancient frescoes on the walls of 
the treasury. The provost, townspeople, and two 
of the old monks of St. Riquier came to pay 
Jeanne a visit of respect at Drugy. 

Drugy is about six miles east of Abbeville, 
which it appears they avoided, possibly not 
wishing to encounter the expression of public 
feeling which we may imagine to have been very 
strongly in Jeanne's favour, from the circum- 
stance of the ladies of Abbeville having come 
to visit her at Le Crotoy. The present farm of 



I 



THE PRTSONEH OF LE CROTOY. ;335 

Drugy is built on the site of the castle where 
Jeanne d'Arc halted on the road from Arras to 
Le Crotoy. The chapel-like portion of the build- 
ing, with the pointed roof, is part of the former 
castle. It contains a vaulted room, in which it 
is said Jeanne d'Arc was imprisoned. They 
passed close by the battlefield of Crecy. It is 
curious that Jeanne should have made such a 
near acquaintance with the most famous battle- 
fields of the English in France, those nearest her 
own time, too : Poitiers, Agin court, and Crecy, 
while all the traditions of the fights were still 
hovering warm about the localities. Of course 
the objects of interest would have been pointed 
out to her in taunt and triumph, if not other- 
wise, or in mere curiosity to see how she would 
like the recital. She would naturally have felt 
deep interest in these scenes patriotically, if not 
professionally, for arms were her profession ; she 
too had been a soldier. 

Perhaps, although a prisoner, she was yet among 
sympathisers in this journey, for her escort, 
though Burgundians, were yet Frenchmen, whose 
homes were not so very far from hers ; therefore 
they may have felt some sparks of national jea- 
lousy against the victorious foreigner, as she was 
only finally given up to the English on reaching 
Le Crotoy about the 21st of November. Accord- 
ing to local traditions, says Henri Martin, she 
received lively expressions of sympathy from the 
populations of Ponthieu. 

The woods which remain here now are part of 



336 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

the renowned forest of Crecy. These are a 
change from the soothing monotony of the scen- 
ery from Arras to Drugy, a landscape of a gauzy, 
shimmering sort, a symphony in green and grey- 
ish white, reminding one of the best French 
etchings, white sky, white Avater written on by 
rushes and branches, not painted with flowers 
nor bathed in blue : a sombre scene laid in a 
minor key, not rich, nor young, nor smiling : 
with distance purpled down by memory's sad 
sweetness, all full of easily-read and sympathetic 
poetr}^ ; but few people and not much wealth of 
cattle ; perhaps one goat to be seen browsing on 
the rough ridge of a common. On the direct 
road to Crotoy, at about two leagues from Crecy, 
is Rue, on the river Maie, where we find another 
certain trace of the passage of Jeanne d'Arc. 
She must have passed through this small place, 
a station on the Boulogne railway, which Murray 
calls ' a poor and hitherto out-of-the-way town, 
Avith an old church.' It is near the ford of 
Blachetaque, where Edward III. crossed the 
Somme with his army before the battle of 
Crecy. Rue is scarcely more than a village, 
yet it boasts a pretty Hotel de Ville, with four 
round turrets adorned with spires and pinnacles, 
all of an early period, and its church is one of the 
curious old ' Monuments Historiques,' that they 
preserve with so much care in France. This 
chapelle du St. Esprit dates from the thirteenth 
century, with additions in the fifteenth and six- 
teenth centuries. 



THE PRISONER OF LE CROTOY. • 337 

As the church at Rue was a famous pilgrimage, 
Jeanne's captors probably halted here, the more 
especially as it lies about midway between Drugy 
and Le Crotoy, and they may have let her visit 
the chapel of the famous crucifix, which floated 
here from Jerusalem (?) ! on the first Sunday in 
August, 1109, when Rue was much more of a 
seaport than it was even in Jeanne d' Arc's time, 
as it stood on the tidal waters of the Male, which 
came up much higher than they flow now. The 
Male opens out into the embouchere of the Somme 
at St. Firmin. 

Thouo;h Louis XL and Isabel de Portuo;al had 
not yet enriched the chapel, it was even then a 
sumptuous place of worship for so small a town.. 
The legend of the miraculous cross is painted on 
the walls ; the pierced screen to the chapel is 
elegant, and the vaulting very fine and rich. 
The stalls of the church, adjoining the shrine-like 
chapel, are of fine old carving and the exterior 
fa9ade is elaborately enriched. The chapel is now 
only used for the neuvaines of Pentecost. 

It is a good four miles from Rue to Le Crotoy, 
on the Somme, where Jeanne was being taken, 
on a white, winding road, with a blue level distance. 
The irregular lines of trees are bent back with the 
sea- wind, for it is a bleak country. This journey 
gave Jeanne her first sight of the sea in its grey, 
gloomy November aspect, cold and cruel as the 
English over yonder. She arrived about the 
21st of November at Le Crotoy, and was im- 
prisoned within the castle, which no longer 

z 



838 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

exists, but which formerly, with its heavy mass 
and frowning aspect, presented, we are told, great 
resemblance to the Bastille at Paris. The castle 
of Le Crotoy, according to an old drawing, was 
an oblong, battlemented fortress with round 
towers at the four corners, mounted on a fortified 
pedestal with round bastions guarded by cannons. 
Here Jeanne's friend, the Duke of Alencon, had 
formerly been kept prisoner. This old castle has 
entirely vanished, melted, they say, in the sand 
of the sea; but the name Rue de la Tour 
indicates its position. 

The church is plain and strong like a fortress, 
with a strong tower heavily buttressed, and hav- 
ing long stone shoots to carry off the rain. The 
body of the church is modern, of rubble-work 
rough-cast with brick dressings ; but there are 
elsewhere, and in its immediate neighbourhood, 
remains of walls built of pebbles with brick-string 
courses. The church stands on the rising ground 
at the further verge of the town, or rather village, 
of Le Crotoy. (It is a town because it has a 
mayor, but it looks like a village.) 

Beyond the town lies a long stretch of sandy 
coast. 

The view from the shingly beach is a curious 
scene of mingled sands and river channels, which 
are crossed on foot at low tide, with the assistance 
of two ferries across the two larger streams, by 
those who wish to reach St. Valery, nestling 
among the wooded hills on the opposite side of 
the Somme. 



THE PRISONER OF LE CROTOY. 339 

Down by the port, where the boats are drawn 
up, is a bronze statue of Jeanne d'Arc in peasant's 
dress with bare arms, gazing sadly across the 
Somme towards St. Valery ; an image full of a 
noble melancholy, more touching than many a 
more famous statue. It was erected by the Maire 
du Crotoy in 1881. 

The inscription runs thus : ^ A Jeanne d'Arc. 
A cette fille du peuple, qui, pleine de foi dans les 
destinees de la France quand tous desesperaient, 
delivra notre patrie en laissant un nom sans egal 
dans Thistoire. 

' Ici la liberatrice de la France, abandonnee par 
ceux qu'elle avait sauves est restee plusieurs mois 
prisonniere avant d'etre conduite a Rouen ou 
s'acheva son martyre. 

'EUe aima tant la France; souvenons-nous 
toujours, Fran9ais, que la patrie chez nous est nee 
du coeur dune femme, de sa tendresse et de ses 
larmes, du sang qu'elle a donne pour nous/ ^ 

The idea that Jeanne passed some months at 
Le Crotoy seems incorrect, as the surest data we 
possess name the time of her arrival here as the 
21st of November, and state that she left here for 

* ' To Joan of Arc. To this daughter of the people, who, full of 
faith in the destinies of France when all despaired, delivered our 
country while leaving a name unequalled in history. 

' Here the liberator of France, abandoned by those she had saved, 
stayed several months prisoner before being conducted to Rouen, 
where her martyrdom was completed. 

' She loved France so much ; may we French always remember 
that our country is born from the heart of a woman, from her 
enderness and from her tears, from the blood which she shed for us.' 

z2 



UO FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARc. 

Rouen the second fortnight in December. Her 
trial began January 9th, 1431, three days after 
her nineteenth birthday. 

But Jeanne spent some v/eeks here, a peaceful 
time, a rest for her, though sad, yet calm ; 
beautified, like the whole of her life, with 
lovely thoughts. She received great consola 
tion from her Voices : as when examined on this 
subject at the trial, and especially concerning 
her visions of St. Michael, she says, ' I never saw 
him often, and I have not seen him at all since I 
left the castle of Crotoy.' But the female Voices 
often visited her there and comforted her. 

Her captivity was not rigorous : she was 
allowed to go to church and to confession. A 
priest from Amiens cathedral, who was staying in 
the castle, administered the communion to her 
and heard her in confession. Five ladies of Abbe- 
ville, who came down in a boat to see the heroine 
and bring her the sympathy of their town, were 
admitted to visit her. She thanked these noble 
visitors, and kissed them affectionately, recommend- 
ing herself to their prayers as she said, ' A Dieu.' 
Never again was she to hear human words of love 
and sympathy ; never again on this side of the 
resurrection. Wallon bears witness to the kind- 
ness felt for her by women. That among all the 
injuries to which she was subjected, not one came 
from women. From them instances of admiration 
alone are cited, and esteem for her whom they 
justly felt caused no dishonour to their sex by 
the dress which so scandalised the modesty of 



THE PRISONER OF LE CROTOY. 341 

men : a most absurd mock-modesty, when the 
circumstances of her life are considered. 

Besides these sources of comfort to the heart, 
she was strengthened in her faith. The glad 
news had pierced her prison that before St. 
Martin (October 24th) Compiegne was succoured, 
according to the promise of her Voices. ' Jeanne's 
spirit had led her friends of Compiegne to victory,' 
says Henri Martin. 

Perhaps she was allowed to walk, under guard 
of course, in the neighbouring roads and fields. 
The country is pleasant hereabout. 

I was much reminded of Jeanne's shepherd life 
in Lorraine when, in returning from a ramble by 
the fields of barley in blossom, three little lambs 
scampered after me bleating. By-ancl-by a tall, 
strong girl came to untether her cow ; the lambs 
knew her, and ran gladly after her, leaving ofi* 
their doubtful, imploring gaze on me. Here they 
were certain of a friend, as she fondled them with 
her hand before striking in the tethering peg 
again with her heavy mallet. Jeanne the prisoner 
had once been just like this girl. 

It was not the season for lambs while Jeanne 
was at Le Crotoy, but the ways and works of these 
simple people must often have carried her back, 
far back into that peaceful past, so far ofi" in 
seeming, so little while ago in reality, blotting 
out the brilliant scenes of her glory, and bringing 
before her her peasant life once more, her mother, 
father, kind uncle Durand Laxart, and her home. 

How sweet the views are hereabout. The wet 



M2 FOOTSTEPS 01^ JEANNE UARC. 

sands, lustrous with the sheeny reflection of the 
sun, the crumpled elms and oaks, the history of 
their battle with the wind told by every writhing 
limb, the golden grass before that aerial blue 
distance of far-off shores and low peninsulas, so 
out of the world, so remote from any book-learnt 
geography, dotted with amphibious hamlets, only to 
be reached barefoot twice in the twenty-four hours. 

A stranger marvels how it is possible to cross 
even to St. Valery, which is some miles nearer, the 
river seems to wind so amono; the sands. One 
hears of a ferry, and one expects the tide to rise 
that boats may cross the waste of ribbed sands 
intersected by water channels to St. Valery, set 
in the woods opposite. 

Jeanne could hear its bells as their music 
floated over the waters, which then came higher 
up than now : only at neap-tide then could the 
river have presented its now peculiar appearance. 

The mystery of the passage is solved on hearing 
one has to walk across barefoot to St. Valery. 
Every man (comme-il-faut) has a pair of high 
boots, coming half-way up the thigh, in which he 
can wade conveniently. Persons of inferior posi- 
tion carry a net in which they put their shoes, 
and, it may be, stockings. It is a refreshing 
novelty in travel to cross these sands barefoot, by 
turns wading in pretty deep water, and walking 
over sands sometimes ribbed and firm, and hard 
to the feet, sometimes softer and studded with 
delicate shells, lilac, pink, or brimstone-coloured 
bivalves opening like butterflies, and crabs at 
play in the little channels of the tide. 



THE PRISONER OF LE CROTOY. 343 

The manners of the people are simple and 
primitive as those of children. Crossing the 
river barefoot is taken as a matter of course. 
They would never themselves think of walking 
(or getting somehow) to Rue and going round 
to St. Valery by train. 

There is first a narrow ferry, then, about a mile 
off, (for the estuary is upwards of a mile wide) 
there is another ferry across the main stream of 
the Somme, whence once sailed the fleet of William 
of Normandy bound for the conquest of England. 
This tradition was of course well-known to Jeanne 
d'Arc. 

Le Crotoy is really more on the sea-board than 
St. Valery, for on this western side of the Somme 
there are outlying lands, or islands, beyond the 
sands seaward where the red roofs of Le Hourdel 
can just be distinguished from the end of the 
digue, built up of hurdle work and large pebbles, 
at St. Valery, or from the highest outlooks of Le 
Crotoy ; and the inhabitants may be seen wading 
across to the more in-world parts for the business 
or gaiety of shopping and visiting. 

The fishing-boats are beached, all but a few in 
the river channel, which are spreading their light 
gauzy wings of large prawning-nets, bigger than 
sails, to the breeze. These are stretched on 
wide, slender, curved yards borne on a long pole 
at the bows. Flood-tide alters the aspect of 
the scene. Then one is truly at the sea-side, 
whether at Le Crotoy or St. Valery. Standing 
on the firm rising land by the Tower of Harold, 
one can watch the flotilla of fishing smacks 



U-i FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

come in, about fifty of them, all marked St. V.SS., 
sweeping up the river channel in single file, 
their sails dark against the evening sky, all 
laden with prawns and various fish. A flock of 
eager women with creels, nets, and baskets hurry 
down the pebble bank to secure the wriggling, 
multi-coloured prize. The fisher-boys, with red 
trows ers, carry nets full of fish slung on long 
poles over their shoulders. 

Did Jeanne, in watching this harvest of the 
sea, think of that so different harvest, the 
grapes and corn of her own sweet, sunny land? 
Bishop Cauchon had also woven his net, and 
was spreading it to catch her in his toils. 

Now at flood-tide the Somme looks like a fine 
river, and if one saw it firs't like this one would 
not believe that one would ever walk or wade 
across it. A few hours hence and the expanse is 
all sand again. 

For long Jeanne's eyes must have strained 
themselves across to the church of St. Valery, 
high set upon its round-towered platform, yet 
embowered in trees, and traced its low, square 
spire, its walls diapered with patterns in black 
flint, its five gables standing seaward to the north, 
and others east and west in this church of many 
aisles, as the sound of its bells was wafted by the 
south-west wind across the sands to the weary 
prisoner at Le Crotoy, whom all had forgotten 
save her enemies, as St. Valery's fleet of boats set 
sail and returned daily, bringing no message of 
deliverance or love to her ; and the sun set like a 



THE PRISONER OF LE CROTOY. 345 

shield of flame illumining the waste of sands that 
spread like the wide stretch of a lasting captivity 
before her young life, which was indeed to set like 
that sun in a blaze of fire — dying gloriously. 

I have tried to give a plain, truthful narrative 
of Jeanne's travels, her mission, and her achieve- 
ments as they seemed to her, whose unsophisti- 
cated faith knew nothing of politics, of pro and 
con, and disturbing coils of diplomacy, the froth 
of statesmanship more often than its oil. 

She held in view the simple right, as she was 
shown it, and went to her task direct as the crow 
flies, knowing no refinements of sophistry. Van- 
quishing her own womanly weakness, she could 
not overcome the weakness, the vacillation of 
others, their indifl'erence, their sloth, their — per- 
haps pretended — unbelief. She could conquer 
the strength of the foe, but these cushiony weak- 
nesses are always the greatest obstacles in the 
way of a purpose. They exhaust more than 
action, they wear more than friction, being like 
the deep ruts of a heavy road. 

These weaknesses (of others) were her real 
enemies, as they always are enemies of the simple 
right. 

Jeanne knew little or nothing of the history of 
Europe, even of her time, but she knew and held 
sacred her duty to her country and her king. 
For a time she was the only one who brought 
opinion to the test of action, until the eloquence 
of her deeds roused the French nation from its 
lethargy and the fatalistic doctrine of laissez-faire. 



346 



CHAPTER XVII. 

JOURNEY TO ROUEN. 

'Rouen, Rouen, mourrai-je ici ! Oh, Rouen, j'ai grand'peur que 

tu n'aies a souffrir de ma mort.' 

Jeanne d^Ajx''s soliloquy. 

One more journey remains for us to take with 
Jeanne, it is the last. The order came at length 
for the prisoner to be brought to Rouen there to 
await her trial for sorcery, heresy, and rebellion. 

This was in the second fortnight of December, 
1430. 

Jeanne was carried across the Somme at flood- 
tide in a boat. This was more practicable then 
than now, as the river was navigable, perhaps, 
at all times. She was then taken to Rouen on 
horseback by way of Eu and Dieppe. Notwith- 
standing her presentiment that Rouen would see 
her death, perhaps the change was not unwel- 
come to her. Oh, how the return to horseback 
must have revived her longing to escape ! The 
road lay, as now, up by the wall-flowered ram- 
parts of St. Valery (gay in spring with song-birds 
whose nests are in the ivy), up through an arch- 
way to the chequer-built Norman church with 



JOURNEY TO ROUEN. . 347 

its strong rectangular tower and deeply projecting 
buttresses. A covered stairway leads from here 
to the higher ramparts, towering above the plat- 
form of the church, whence the view of Le Cro- 
toy, with the site of its former castle, is only 
a soft grey silhouette in the distance. 

St. Valery abounds in picturesque objects, 
ruined fortifications with crenellated round towers 
and machicolated archways, as well as pretty 
children and stately young women with fine hair, 
and elder women with quaint coifs and caps. 

The church, which looks like an outwork of the 
fortress, stands on a broad pedestal of the ram- 
parts that formerly extended far along the 
heights. The lower bastions are built of pebbles 
with string courses of hewn stone. The names of 
Harold and William the Conqueror are household 
words among the dwellings niched and nestled 
in these ruined walls, notwithstanding that French 
history insists that it was St Valery-en-Caux 
which saw the mighty gathering of the Conquer- 
or's fleet. It is a steady ascent out of St. Valery, 
branching ofi* into pretty walks and avenues ; but 
the road to Eu descends soon after to the level of 
the shore, where one can make out somewhat 
better the puzzling geography of the sea and 
river. 

Among the wild-fowl found in the low grounds 
here is the Canard Sarcelle d'ete : (Ana querque- 
dula, Linn.) — a pretty little brown mottled duck 
with black bill and feet. 

It is about sixteen miles from St. Valery 



348 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

to Eu, twenty-five kilometres by the measuring 
stones. It is a rather monotonous road, exposed 
to the full violence of the sea-breeze, between 
St. Valery and Eu, pleasant enough in spring- 
time, wdien the barley is in ear, when the 
larks and thrushes, warbling above the fields 
powdered on their banks Avith a short-stemmed 
stitchwort, fill the stimulating breeze with 
gladness, and the nooks and valleys are filled 
with wild-flowers rejoicing in the clear blue 
sky of France. But it had not this pleasant 
aspect to the sad little cortege that followed this 
bleak road in December, 1430. 

At between five and six kilometres from St. 
Valery begins the long, straggling village of 
Sallenelle, set between exposed banks with trees 
bare almost up to midsummer with the bleakness of 
the situation, and bent by struggling with the wind. 

Sallenelle is almost continuous with Lancheres 
and Brutelles, a half-way village between St. 
Valery and Eu. The long continuity of farms 
and detached houses along the main road gives 
this part of Picarcly the appearance of being 
well-peopled ; but this populousness is confined 
to the borders of the good high-road. The land 
is well-cultivated, but of poor quality. Few 
strangers pass this road ; there is no public con- 
veyance. St. Valery once left behind, one must 
needs walk to Brutelles, whence it is sometimes 
possible to hire a cart to Eu. Past Brutelles the 
roads grows absolutely dreary and still more 
bleak, with stunted, leafless trees struggling 



JOURNEY TO ROUEN. 849 

against the biting wind in a poor soil alter- 
nately composed of chalk and beds of clay, 
peopled only by shepherds in long woollen cloaks 
with crooks (and pipes) before the road turns off 
to Ault St. Charles, a brand-new watering-place, 
dismal enough in winter. 

From the heights at length one looks down upon 
E u, a town, they say, of eleven thousand inhabitants, 
and Treport, with three or four thousand, a local 
calculation which Murray upsets in stating it as 
three thousand seven hundred and thirty for Eu. 
But Treport is a populous place, and Eu gives the 
idea of a larger town than Murray's calculation 
warrants. Eu lies on the Bresle, which forms the 
boundary of Normandy, at the foot of a steep 
hill clothed in green woods, snug as in a nest 
in the valley, which looks all the richer in con- 
trast with the bare table-lands above. The town 
has some groups of street architecture and wooden 
crossbar-fronted houses that would please an 
artist. Its picturesque church in the early -pointed 
style is raised on a height in the centre of the 
town, a rich brown church that they like to speak 
of as 'the cathedral,' to which its apse, sur- 
rounded with decorated flying buttresses, gives 
much the appearance of one. Not far from this 
is the red-brick chateau of the Comte de Paris, 
where Louis Philippe once received our queen. 
His well-kept park and plantations stretch nearly 
to the white cliffs of Treport, whose dashing blue 
sea, like sapphire fringed with silver, is visible in 
peeps between the woods. 



350 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

Jeanne d'Arc halted in En, she most probably 
slept there, as it is thirty-two kilometres (abont 
twenty miles) further to Dieppe, and there is no 
place of security for a prisoner on the road, unless 
it may be at Criel. The days were short, besides, 
and darkness might flwour a rescue. The way to 
Dieppe is up the steep hill beyond the present 
barracks, and out on the Roman road w^hich ex- 
tends straight as an arrow flight for about five 
miles before it turns ofl* at an obtuse anorle 

o 

straight out again. The trees that line the roads 
grow rather more freely here than on last even- 
ing's length of road, as the soil is better. Colza 
and barley are the principal crops. Public vehi- 
cles ply (frequently in summer) between Eu and 
Dieppe. The new road, marked by the kilometre 
stones, branches off to the right from the straight 
old Roman road, avoiding the more abrupt hill. 
The old road was, of course, the one followed by 
Jeanne d'Arc and her guard. 

Descending the hill (on the old road) one comes 
in sight of the small town, or village, of Criel. 
The country is more varied here, with broken 
chalk-hills pierced by caves, and a triangular dip 
of the blue sea visible beyond the red roofs and 
slates and spire of the village. Caravans of gip- 
sies halt in the warm sheltered nook where the 
hawthorn comes early into bloom, in quite another 
climate from the piercing winter and scorching 
summer on the exposed Roman road. The church, 
on the nearer side of the bridge, was the same in 
Jeanne's time. It has an irregular chancel with 



JOURNEY TO ROUEN. 351 

stone gurgoyles, crockets, and carved abutments, 
and a low square tower. The churches seem 
always especially connected with Jeanne d'Arc. 
Where there was a church Jeanne found a friend, 
and she entered it to worship w^henever she could 
do so. The carved image of our Saviour signi- 
fied a sympathy with her. Her escort may have 
halted here, human nature is much the same in 
all ages ; men liked a cup of cider and horses 
required a feed then pretty much as they do now, 
and the church and the inn lie near together. 

Up a long pull of hill between banks of chalk 
imbedded with flints. The country is very like 
Wiltshire or Sussex. We gain the high ground and 
the straight road again to Tocqueville (a name one 
knows). How clearly and how far one can hear 
the sound of distant footsteps before the people 
are in sight, as Indians hear the trail. The 
lark soars and sings above the waving barley 
crops ; the sun-warmed breeze, the coolness of 
mother-earth with her daisies, make all one luxury 
as one rests upon the wayside banks. A shepherd 
with his flock are near, and men are ploughing. 

The Roman road passes Biville-sur-mer, another 
oasis set in orchards and fertility ; another half- 
way house from time pre-historical. It is a long 
way from the beach, notwithstanding its name of 
Biville-sur-mer. 

The inn is of the most homely kind, but from 
its first-floor windows one can participate in the 
life of the place, such as it has ever existed since 
the iron age. A young countryman on a dapple- 



352 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ABC. 

^rey horse, bedightwith crimson woollen trappings, 
rides up and shakes hands with the inn-keeper, 
and everyone gives hiin a hearty greeting. It is 
quite the country inn and rider of olden time. 
An animated picture, with human interest in it. 
The inn-keeper, just the man known to novel- 
readers as the jolly host, is the fixed centre of a 
changing circle. All are cheery, genial, glad to 
see and note the traveller on the route and 
mutually detail the news. All are glad to pass 
and repass, sure of a welcome and God-speed. 
Within doors the hostess prepares the ' cutlets of 
bacon,' broiled on the gridiron, for the guests, 
and hangs the basket of washed salad out to 
strain. The children of the hamlet play whole- 
somely outside, learning to be carters and horse- 
men in their turn. The full-cropped ducks 
waddle by, gobbling upwards to the oats that may 
chance to fall as the horse feeds at his trough 
yonder. The very game-cock, for all his gaudy 
feathers, lives at peace with the other stag-birds 
and the hens. The fields beyond the orchard are 
sunshiny with yellow colza, whose golden ground is a 
setting for silvery abeles and grey-powdered willows. 
The other village children, who have gabbled their 
catechism to the cure in the church, rush out to 
play likewise, and learn, incidentally and in 
playing, their duty to their neighbour after hav- 
ing learnt their duty towards God in the church. 
Oh, that our poor little creatures in London — 
whom people, who do not pity and respect their 
childhood, call ' gutter-snipes ' — had the roses and 



JOURNEY TO ROUEN. 353 

happiness of these really Avealthy children, who will 
never become rich and wretched ; and, likewise, 
their simple piety and love towards each other. 
A big boy has just taken his little brother a ride 
in a large toy-Avheelbarrow ; another boy attends 
to pick up the pieces. Laughter and chat per- 
vade all ages ; they seem so happy with each 
other. Their happiness contrasts with our luxury 
in cities, WTongly so named : this sort of life is 
the real luxury ; if enjoyment of sweet air, per- 
fumes, birds' songs, and laughter are pleasures. 
To be able to sit at this open window, by the 
rising moon, enjoying the balmy air of early May 
is bliss indeed ! But we are free to go and come, 
the sense of liberty and repose adds to the enjoy- 
ment of this halt by the wayside ; while every step 
took poor Jeanne d'Arc further from rescue, 
further from her country, and riveted her chains 
more firmly. 

Off next morning early, driving ^ unicorn ' on 
the Roman road with the bare trees on each side, 
and the blue belt of sea to the right. Again the 
road makes an obtuse angle at St. Martin, at 
twelve kilometres from Dieppe, and darts off 
straight towards the sea : another angle and 
another, but the lines between them all straight as 
arrows'-flights, each of several kilometres long. 
Still we are on Jeanne's road, travelling with her 
phantom. Look, out well, Jeanne, on the distant 
cliffs beyond the sunny colza ; poor Jeanne ! you 
will never see the glad country again. Here, 
just below us, is the castle of Dieppe, fresh built 

AA 



351 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

and terrible in Jeanne's time, with its cone-headed 
towers and its bridge and drawbridge over a 
chasm extendins; to the sea; then all new and 
hard ; not picturesque as we now see it, softened 
by time and age. The road descends into Dieppe, 
broad and smooth from the table-land that breaks 
off abruptly in white cliffs, keen-edged against the 
blue. The smell of the sea wafts up through the 
dirty fishing-port beyond the weather-beaten 
brown church tower. The river Arques with its 
tidal-harbour, is filled with fishing- vessels. The road 
from Dieppe to Rouen lies in lower ground, where 
the climate is more tender, and the vegetation 
is never wholly asleep. 

At St. Aubin there are larch and fir plantations 
rising straight from the earth skywards, no longer 
beaten back by the winds. This soft, well- wood- 
ed, pretty country, with meadows and mill- 
streams, must have smiled at Jeanne and seemed 
homely to her. It was a treacherous welcoming. 
The bleak Roman road above was like the Eng- 
lish ; hard, stern foes Avho never pretended to be 
otherwise ; this softer path leading to Rouen, and 
to death, is like the cruel priests who seemed to 
be her friends, to bear love for her soul, and yet 
who tried to entangle her in her talk ; mostly too 
her own countrymen, for the Bishop of Win- 
chester was the only English prelate present at 
her trial ; like these and the gay, faithless king and 
court who abandoned her to her fate so soon as 
she had served their turn. 



JOURNEY TO ROUEN. 365 

This is a land of plenty ; mill-streams and 
orchards and tall, graceful, slender avenues deck 
this part of the pleasant land of France, that 
Jeanne, more than anybody else, won back for 
her own people. These perhaps loved her still, 
but the populace are ever fickle, besides, they 
dared not uplift their voice. Black was their 
rulers' ingratitude, for, after all, the benefit at 
that time was theirs. 

Longueville, Auffky, St. Victor, each greener, 
sweeter than the last. There is a taste of spring 
here even in the depth of winter ; even in the 
dismal time, so near to Christmas, too, when 
Jeanne d'Arc passed by here, so close on her 
nineteenth birthday. But she saw not the full glad- 
ness of the land : that was left for her judges and 
captors to behold, the priests and great rich foreign 
lords who swept by here proudly, on war-horses 
and caparisoned mules, in spring, when the fields 
were golden green, shading into blue in the wheat- 
lands on the borders of the new-ploughed earth, 
pinky like the under-side of a mushroom, chang- 
ing to foxy red, then to chalk again, with sweeps of 
wood and moorland which are now being brought 
under cultivation. Thev saw it clothed in Nature's 
sweet young soft May green, shot with golden 
fires of planta-genista. The breeze that fanned 
their faces lifted the broad soft young green 
horse-chestnut leaves with no sound, neither did 
the not yet crisp twigs of the apricot cause a 
rustling. They might have felt Nature inter- 

AA 2 



356 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

ceding with them for Jeanne d'Arc, so young 
and brave ; but when did hard-hearted men ever 
read Nature to learn charity ? 

It is such a graceful country, elegant, if one 
may so call it. And yet people say France is 
ugly ; generalising in a narrow-minded way from 
the strip they may have seen and carped at just 
outside the railway. 

This sweet tender country in May did not 
soften the hearts of Jeanne's judges, riding 
through it with grim purpose, gathering like 
eagles to the slaughter of this one poor ewe- 
lamb. And yet they looked and prayed for 
mercy for themselves. 

Malaunay and the busy manufactories existed 
not then, nor was Rouen pierced by the fine 
broad street that now proudly bears the name of 
Rue Jeanne d'Arc. But the tangled ribbon of 
the Seine wound then as deliciously among its 
wooded islands as in this year of grace, 1885, and, 
when moonlighted and exquisite with stars, the fair 
scene bears much the same aspect as it presented in 
Jeanne's time to a spectator standing on the slopes 
outside the city. A few minutes later, and the 
electric blaze is lighted, and everything is brought 
forward into the glare of modernness ; reflections 
from the lamp-clusters on the bridge make even 
the water, the satiny Seine, appear turbulent. 

It was a mercy that poor Jeanne d'Arc could 
not see this view from her prison windows at 
Rouen ; it would have recalled too painfully the 
poplared islands on the Meuse, Few dungeon 



JOURNEY TO ROUEN. 357 

windows admit of much study of the scenery 
from their cellar-like openings, and Jeanne was 
caged and strongly chained in her toAver in the 
castle, with irons on her feet, and bound by a 
chain to a great block of wood. Nature neither 
mocked nor soothed the Maid's sorrow with this 
year's spring beauty. 

Though much of Rouen's former picturesque- 
ness has crumbled into dust and has been swept 
away as lumber, still it can never quite lose its 
fifteenth-century aspect while its close, busy 
streets and thronged markets lead to its glorious 
cathedral, where there is so much to be forgiven 
(architecturally), and which is yet so beautiful: 
entrancing as a dream as one enters its cool shades 
from the scorching streets and mingles with its 
devotion — in feeling, if not in fact. 

Neither St. Maclou, nor the picturesque Hotel 
Bergtheroude, which the common people wrongly 
call Maison de la Pucelle, then existed ; they rose 
into beauty a very little later. But go further 
up the town, through wider, newer streets, and 
behold St. Ouen that had just then begun to be 
lovely, the rose and crown of decorated Gothic 
architecture. Standing in its gardens, a thing of 
beauty, behind the dense shade of horse-chestnut 
avenues, all in flower and leaf, the lilac and the 
may, ex,quisite in colours of white and crimson 
and freshness, with busy gardeners carting huge 
orange-trees beyond the beds of pinks, now one 
mass of glaucous grass, enhancing all surround- 
ing hues. This was the scene of the abjura- 



358 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

tion which has caused righteous indignation in 
so many hearts, by the mental torture here in- 
flicted on the Maid. The two scafl'olds that we 
read of, one for the judges and one for the falsely- 
accused, were erected in the burial-ground of the 
abbey of St. Ouen, between the central tower 
and the west end of the church. This site was 
only discovered in 1871, when the abbey cemetery 
was unearthed in the course of the works then 
going forward. Stand in the Place and gaze in 
at the wide open doorway right through the 
church. It looks such a sacred shade viewed in 
this way, the shadowed altar seen thus from the 
busy street, with the coloured windows above 
the shrine. Surely one would say that the reign 
of a milder justice had set in when that tran- 
scendant choir was built. 

Yet no, the choir was already perfect, and 
the nave and tower of St. Ouen were still 
in building when the March e aux Veaux, not 
far beyond the shadow of its sacred stones, saw 
the cruel death of the youngest of Christian 
martyrs, after a barbarous imprisonment and a 
trial in which they allowed her no advocate, 
although she was a minor (quoiquelle fut mineure 
d'age) ; and Rouen thought it honoured God by 
building rather than by mercy. May her blood still 
plead for France to the King of kings, whose 
faithful servant she was, and may England be 
forgiven her share in the patriot's cruel fate. 

St. Ouen was commenced in 1318, and the 
choir and transepts were completed twenty-one 



JOURNEY TO ROUEN. 359 

years after. The English wars delayed the pro- 
gress of the building, which was resumed about 
1490. St. Maclou was later, 1432—1500. 

The cathedral at Rouen, which has been called 
a 'romance in stone,' possesses parts belonging 
to all asres. ' It A\^as created with a. total dis- 
regard to all rule, yet so splendid and picturesque 
that we are almost driven to the wild luxuriance 
of nature to find anything with which we can 
compare it.' The ghastly iron skeleton, called a 
spire, is a modern atrocity. 

Jeanne d'Arc was immured in the f^^reat tower 
of Rouen Castle. It was the only tower of the 
castle which existed in Lebrun's time when he 
wrote : ' It has always borne the name of the 
heroine, sometimes also that of " Donjon Tower." 
For a long time it was thought that a little tower, 
since destroyed, was Jeanne's prison, but it has 
been shoAvn that this could not have been the case.' 
Eight steps led up to Jeanne d'Arc's prison from 
the castle court, and the room looked out on the 
country. This old tower was destroyed soon 
afterwards, in 1780. 

The details of the trial, and her rehabilitation, 
are foreign to the intention of this book, though 
our knowledofe of most of the actual circum- 
stances of Jeanne's life are gathered from the 
trial, with its collateral inquiries. It is from 
these that the Maid of Orleans emerges heroic, 
victorious, and saintly, yet a woman still. The 
fticts are more wonderful than the legends that 
have overlaid and obscured her history. 



360 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE UARC. 

Her resignation at the last is as remarkable 
as her obedience from the first. After months 
of neglect, Jeanne, still loyal at her trial, only 
fired up when they dared to touch her king. 
He was sacred to her : she might be condemned, 
but he, at least, she said, had done no wrong. 
The wrong, if any, she maintained, was hers, and 
hers alone. Contrast this nobleness with his in- 
difference. Charles, who held so many prisoners 
in his hands, proposed not to exchange one of 
note for her to whom he owed theni all. L'Averdy 
says that the history of the Maid of Orleans 
has been exhausted by a great number of writers 
who have lightly read the original sources with- 
out enough attention to the nature of the case 
and to the forms which Avere followed. 

L'Averdy 's work, which fills a thick quarto 
volume, is styled, ' Historical and Critical Re- 
flections on the Conduct of Charles VII. with 
regard to Jeanne d'Arc after she was taken 
Prisoner by the English at the Siege of Com- 
piegne.' The title reads still more ponderously 
in the original. Vainly trying to excuse Charles, 
he tacitly accuses him. ' They say ' (? who say) 
'that she had ceased to have the rights of a 
prisoner of war, and could not consequently be 
ransomed.' ' II est prouve qu'il (le roi d'Angle- 
terre) en a fait V achate et non pas le r achat.'' 
' Jean of Luxembourg and the Bastard of Wan- 
donne were forced to abandon her to Henry VI. 
The English were enraged at seeing France escape 
from their hands by means of a young peasant 



JOURNEY TO ROUEN. 361 

who declared herself minister of the will of 
Heaven.' 

If Charles had burnt his prisoners in revenge, 
the English mio:ht have done the same to the 
Duke of Orleans. Reprisals once began, there 
would have been a perpetual blood-feud. Then 
also her judges were French, having at their head 
the University of Paris. 

L'Averdy makes this very important admission, 
that not one Englishman took part in the case. 
' II n'y pas un seul Anglais qui ait agi dans les 
procedures !' He admits at last that however 
powerful the reasons, and however difficult it is 
to answer them, ' there remains however at the 
bottom of the heart a secret dissatisfaction against 
the inaction of Charles VIL' He speaks mildly. 

So marvelling at this inaction, he dives again 
for motives and brings up this pearl for his trou- 
ble : that Charles believed she was a sorceress. 
Then Charles was an accomplice of the pretended 
crime of Jeanne, of which he reaped the fruit : 
which was what the English wished to prove. 
Jeanne felt this dano:er for her kino;, and defend- 
ed him nobly, interrupting the orator to cry, ' By 
my faith, with due reverence, I dare say and 
swear to you, under peril of death, that he is the 
most noble of Christians, who best loves the faith 
and the church, and he is not such as you say of 
him.' 

' Silence her,' said the orator to the usher. 
Noble, generous girl. 

Her trials prove that Jeanne was sincere, that 



362 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

she died convinced of the truth and reality of her 
visions and revelations. ' The supposition of pure 
chance appears to me wholly inadmissible,' says 
L'Averdy, in speaking of the remarkable fulfil- 
ment of her words and predictions on many occa- 
sions, and the success which attended her measures 
when she asserted them to be of heavenly 
command. 

On January 9th, 1431, Jeanne's public trial 
began, when she was just nineteen years of age : 
on the 9th of May, after a searching and inquisi- 
torial examination and a cruel and rigorous 
captivity, she was threatened with torture in 
order to force her into admissions against herself : 
her judges having failed cluzdng these four 
months of cross-examination to find justification 
for a capital sentence against her. 

Although the Duchess of Bedford (after being 
assured by a jury of matrons of the virginity of 
Jeanne) gave orders to the wardens of the prison, 
and others, to do her no species of violence, yet 
they kept her strongly fettered. ' They took her 
from her cage (for trial) and drew ofi* from her 
three pairs of irons. After the session, they re- 
placed the irons on her feet.' It does not appear 
that she was imprisoned in a cage after this first 
examination : naturally the French historians 
place her imprisonment at Rouen in its worst 
lig-ht, and the customs of the time were indeed 
very cruel ; especially Avould they be so to a per- 
son of the lower orders, suspected, with such show 
of reason, of witchcraft. 



JOURNEY TO ROUEN, 363 

The 24th of May, a year from the elate of her 
capture at Corapiegne, saw Jeanne's abjuration 
and release, both so-called : the 30th of May saw 
her cruel death. 

The whole sad tale of this young girl's grievous 
captivity is beyond the scope of this book ; those 
pathetic scenes of her trial, when Cardinal Win- 
chester and even Bishop Cauchon, most cruel in- 
quisitor of all, wept ; and one of the English lords, 
a spectator, cried out, ^ She is really a good woman. 
If she were but English !' I am obliged to leave 
out her OAvn touching and beautiful answers and 
conduct at her trial. 

She was of those young souls early culled, while 
flowers, for Heaven, their fruit to ripen in Para- 
dise. Many aged saints have borne their fruit 
here on earth. ' Heaven was made for those who 
have failed in this world,' says Lord Carlisle, 
and the word has consoled many. Jeanne 
seemed to have failed here ; as many who have 
w^orked in God's way seem to have failed, and 
their failure is better than the worldly man's suc- 
cess. The ardent spirit is at rest. There is no 
more work for her on this side the resurrection. 

But her work was done, so far as it was given to 
her to do. She showed France the way of liberty, 
of body and soul, and she won it for her people 
through suffering : without Avhich no real blessing 
is ever obtained. Jeanne suffered, but her country 
gained freedom. Her last care was for her friends' 
safety. Her last word, amid the flames, was 
Jesus. Round what was left of her — a heap of 



864 FOOTSTEPS OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

ashes — the residue of a beino: — rose her monu- 
inent, Circumspice. Look round — on France, a 
free nation. 

Faithful unto death, to her is given a crown of 
life. 



365 



APPENDIX. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY OF JEANNE D'ARC. 

' It is by means of such works' (bibliographies) 'that the student 
comes to know what has been written on eyerj part of learning, that he 
avoids the hazard of encountering difficulties which have already been 
cleared ; of discussing questions which have already been decided ; and 
of digging in mines of literature which have already been exhausted.' 
— Dr. Johnson. 

Early in life I possessed a chap-book with spirited cuts, 
full of battles, with exciting sword-play of Talbot and 
Dunois, of the Maid of Orleans with her banner, and her 
king standing with ermine mantle a la George IV. at 
Madame Tussaud's, with his best leg foremost. The ac- 
companying verses were at least as much founded on fact 
as other poems that have been written on the heroine. 
The final lines (with the picture) fulfilled the mission of 
tragic poetry and brought tears to my childish eyes. I 
was no great critic at eight years old. 

' 'Twas Rouen saw the closing scene, 

Courageous died the guiltless fair ; 
Her look, undaunted and serene, 

Made England blush that brought her there.' 

Later on, I read Lord Mahon's essay (from the 
' Quarterly Review '), which contained the sum of all 
that England then knew about the Maid of Orleans. 
Indeed, at the present day, one may ask many persons 
of fair average reading, ' What is your opinion of Jeanne 
d'Arc V ' Of whom V ' Of Joan of Arc V ' Well, h'm, 
ha, 1 really know next to nothing about her ;' and then 



366 APPENDIX. 

they cast about to remember what Shakespeare has 
written on the subject. 

Even the great Duke of Marlborough said, * Shake- 
speare's historical plays are the only (English) history I 
ever read in my life.' Some of us are in like case. For 
many of ns Joan of Arc is a name, or at most the head- 
ing of a pathetic fable. 

The histories of England contain little beyond the 
bare facts that she fought us and we burnt her, and in 
this humanitarian age we are ashamed of ourselves for 
so doing. 

Bastien Lepage's picture of Jeanne d'Arc gave the 
finishing touch to my longing to learn all I could of her 
myself, and now 1 wish to make other people know her 
too. 

This book is the product of many journeys in France, 
some two or three especially devoted to this end. I have 
spared no trouble to examine things I hoped would be 
interesting, and what I have set aside as being less 
closely cognate with my subject would fill a book twice 
as large. 

Half being sometimes more than the whole, I have 
refrained from anecdote and such of the Maid's personal 
history and feats as have often been told before. Apply- 
ing to my heroine the realism of the present day, I have 
given prominence to the scenery of her actions; as this 
often illustrates her deeds and gives them a solidarity to 
our minds such as no narrative, save that of a poet — a 
Walter Scott, for instance — or the vigorous verisimili- 
tude of an eye-witness can convey. In trying to put 
together collateral matters bearing directly on the 
subject and in themselves interesting, 1 hope 1 have not 
made it too much of a ' sausage-book,' which is my ab- 
horrence ; though I fear I may be called a ' Grangerite.'* 

There are French histories of Jeanne in abundance. 
They have multiplied since Lebrun de Charmettes made 
a good road through a mass of fragments of histories in a 

* The ' Grangerites ' are the people who eiihirge a book, in itself of 
little value, by inserting into its pages plates, playbills, letters, libels, 
street ballads, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and anything bearing 
on the subject matter of the original volume. The excuse for the 
Grangerite is that he thus accumulates data for the future chronicler. 
The horror of h m is that his work may multiply the sources of error. 



APPENDIX, 367 

complete and regular history of the heroine, pubhshed in 
1817 : but in England we had nothing but what I have 
mentioned, beyond the short and incorrect accounts in 
the biographical dictionaries — except G. Ann Grave's 
much-abridged translation of Lenglet du Fresnoy, 
published in 1812 — until Miss Parr, sitting down in 1865 
before the four volumes of Lebrun de Charmettes and 
the five volumes of Quicherat, did for England something 
the same as Wallon has done for France (allowing for 
the natural ignorance of an Englishwoman as to French 
topography and customs). She has sifted the evidence, 
shortened the accounts of conflicting authorities, and 
given us in a readable summary the life and death of 
perhaps the most interesting woman who ever lived ; of 
a figure, at all events, unique in history. 

I have taken a totally different line of inquiry, and, 
setting aside the bulky volumes of evidence, I take it 
for granted that English people have read (or will read) 
Miss Parr, or at least Lord Mahon, as most French 
people have read Wallon ; therefore I need not go over 
that ground again. Though I have found amply suffi- 
cient data to make, I hope, an interesting story of the 
heroine's life, mine must rather be viewed as a supple- 
mentary volume to Wallon, or in English to Miss Parr, 
as I leave out almost all that they have treated of; not 
by utilizing their leavings, but by looking elsewhere for 
material. Theirs is the indoor, mine the outdoor history. 
There is no similarity between them 

Among authorities I may not include the imaginative 
writers, ranging from Shakespeare to the rhapsodists, 
whose so-called biographies are ebullitions of the enthu- 
siasm of 1820, Avhen Monsieur Jollois, superintending 
engineer in the Vosges, gratified the public with a 
glorification (in folio) of the tasteless little monument at 
Domremy, then ' inaugurated ;' a word appropriately 
consecrated to such themes. He gives a view of the 
long since dried-up fountain, miscalled Greek, whose 
shelving roof shelters the bust of the Maid of Orleans in 
plumed toque and costume of the time of the Restora- 
tion (in France), surrounded by the throng of fashion- 
able people who waved their tear-bedewed handkerchiefs 
dry at the ' inauguration.' 

Southey set the example of honouring Joan of Arc in 



368 APPENDIX. 

England. His volume is in verse, and it is kindly, 
complimentarily meant ; but it lacks the poetry of truth. 
It rings false throughout and leaden : as a book it is a 
creditable rather than a delightful possession. Southey 
found a picturesque subject and dressed it up in fancy 
costume of classic flow, like the then fashionable statues ; 
taking his fanciful history from Caze, the worst guide 
he could have had. Caze's pretended royal parentage 
of Jeanne is nonsense, as is the whole of his history. It 
is founded on sand. 

One cannot expect real value from an epic poem written 
at nineteen and published at tAventy-one, and Southey's 
verse is very boyish and high-flown. Like Schiller he 
evolved a Jeanne from his moral consciousaess, and from 
reading a poem of Chapelain's called, ' La France delivree,' 
which he analysed, and his epic grew out of a shorter 
chimera of his owm which he called 'The Vision of the 
Maid of Orleans.' Southey learnt better as he grew older 
and read Lebrun de Charmettes, who quotes Caze only to 
refute him. I read Lebrun de Charmettes from Southey's 
own well-marked copy, dated Keswick, 1837. 

For Schiller there is less excuse for having given us 
a fictitious Jeanne, in that he had greater genius and 
riper years. In thus painting the lily, gilding the 
violet, he has shown what is less pardonable than error 
of judgment in a poet — to wit, want of taste. He also 
had read L'Averdy and knew the truth, therefore was 
not privileged to go wrong. He has not improved his 
play by his aberrations, else some might have forgiven 
him in the interests of art. He has wilfully defaced one 
of the loveliest stories the world has ever known ; one 
which is poetry itself even when unadorned by verse. 
The poem has become a common-place German legend. 
In his glowing commentary on Schiller's drama, Carlyle, 
who does not believe in Jeanne's pretensions, shows far 
deeper appreciation of the beauty of her character than 
Schiller, who believes too much. 

The poets have each and all overstepped the bound- 
aries of the most ample poetical license. Our Shake- 
speare is the least to blame in this, as he uttered the 
belief of his time and nation ; but for Voltaire, we can 
only do to him as the Jews to the tomb of Absalom, take 
up a stone and throw it behind our backs. 



APPENDIX. 369 

L'Averdy's work was already written and talked of 
when Southey wrote. He was occupied with it in 1791, 
but the publication was delayed, and no wonder, con- 
sidering the condition of France at that time. L'Averdy 
brings forward all the letters and MSS. relative to 
Jeanne's pretended marriage and life after the scene at 
Rouen, where, like a new Iphigenia or another Isaac, a 
substitute is supposed to have been provided. Polluche, 
commenting on the recital of the doyen of St. Thiebaut, 
says, * The Maid after escaping from the hands of the 
English, it matters little how,' (il importe peu comment). 
Yet this is the most necessary thing to know. The 
misplaced credulity of that age averred that by her 
sanctity Jeanne escaped the fire, and they burnt another 
believing it to be herself. Two persons are known to 
have passed for the escaped Pucelle. 

Quicherat has cleared up these things for France, but 
the damage of a fable is its tendency to be perpetuated 
by oral tradition till it seems to have become a truth, or, 
at least, to be a respectable opinion. England owes 
Jeanne too much reparation to prolong these errors. 

Setting aside the poets, the over-credulous, and the 
unbelievers, who maintain that the real Jeanne was an 
impostor, I find the historians all follow each other like 
sheep, until, like counting an imaginary flock in a wake- 
ful night, one wearies of the vain repetitions and re-dis- 
cussions of settled points ; the question of Jeanne's 
inspiration emptying itself into each writer's preconceiv- 
ed idea, leaving each unconvinced reader still of his own 
opinion. I seem to know Petitot, who devotes to Jeanne 
d'Arc more than half of the eighth volume of his ' Memoirs 
relating to French history,' word for word; he has 
copied, and he has so often been re-copied. It is one of 
a chain of similar links. 

Many of these writers, among others Berriat St. Prix 
(highly complimented in his time), attach to a rhapsody 
beginning, ' Femme illustre et infortunee ! Voila done 
la recompense de tant de services et de vertus !' &c. &c., 
a list of authors and quotations from their opinions, 
making as pleasant reading as any other unclassified 
dictionary. 

Half of everybody's book is filled with the trial, 

BB 



370 ' APPENDIX. 

oftener this is two-thirds ; half of the remainder is made 
Tip of rhapsodies and apostrophes. 

The information on collateral points of Jeanne's 
history is voluminous. Besides Quicherat's five octavo 
volumes of the two trials, there are five volumes by A. 
Renard on the name of Jeanne d'Arc and if she was 
French, besides many smaller works on the history of 
her family. The dissertations on the particle and 
apostrophe (D'Arc, Dare) would fill a large volume. 
There are six printed columns of works on Jeanne d'Arc 
in the British Museum catalogue, mostly French and 
Latin, next most Italian, some German, few English. 

Quicherat's important work, ' The Trial and Rehabili- 
tation,' with notes, was judged worthy of being 
published by the Societe de I'Histoire de France, 1st of 
August, 1841. This is in five volumes ; one on the 
condemnation, four on the rehabilitation. Concerning 
Jeanne d' Arc's life, history is nowhere built on better 
evidence. She was the subject of four trials, of which 
the two last great trials (proces) were one for her and 
the other against her ; arraying the powers of both 
church and state for her condemnation and rehabilita- 
tion. Better evidence cannot exist ; it was gathered 
from every source with most careful (or malicious) 
minuteness. This was written in the old law Latin for 
the trials ; Quicherat (in 1841) has digested the Latin 
text and added elucidatory notes. Each brick is well 
laid, and the reader possesses herein not only the 
evidence, but also the original text of every contempo- 
raneous author, and can collate them easily ; that is, 
presuming he can read the Latin, the old French, and old 
English. The notes are pleasant reading. 

Lebrun de Charm ettes, in 1817, had already con- 
densed and translated many of these documents into 
French ; yet, sach is the upsetting power of legend, in 
almost every record of Jeanne written of late years, we 
find inexactitude, on every inscribed tablet a wrong 
date, and succeeding writers have always followed the 
wrong indications. Lebrun and Quicherat would seem 
to have laboured in vain. 

Even our ' Encyclopsedia Brittanica' of 1856 was 
weak enough to follow word for word a trashy bio- 
graphy compiled for the newspapers, when it would 



APPENDIX. 371 

have been almost as easy to copy authentic documents. 
The very short notice of Jeanne d'Arc in the ninth 
edition (1879) has few or no errors, it has been shorten- 
ed by having the errors cut out, while httle or nothing 
has been added or altered. Hume, who follows at 
second-hand the text of Monstrelet, the Burgundian, is 
wrong in every date he gives. 

Walcknaer, in his ' Biographic Universelle,' says no 
history rests upon such authentic materials as that of 
Jeanne d'Arc, because of the juridical testimony of the 
two trials. He does not include the trial at Poitiers, 
which I consider highly important. It would be un- 
natural if authors, even of the period in question, agreed 
in each particular. The writings of the holy evangelists 
themselves do not tally — whereby we get a wider truth. 
The sacred historians do not always speak in unison. 
The result is a harmony, a complete chord : or, if an 
apparent discord should occur, remember, a resolved dis- 
cord is the most exquisite of musical effects. I doubt if 
the special correspondents of our newspapers would 
agree in the same features of the self-same campaign ; yet 
each one would give his individual quota of fact, and we 
should gain the broad general impression of the truth. 

When Lebrun de Charmettes wrote (in 1817) France 
possessed no complete and regular history of the heroine, 
for we cannot call such the Latin work (incomplete) of 
Hordal, nor Richer s unpublished MSS. which had been 
pillaged by Lenglet du Fresnoy. L'Averdy s immense 
work, drawn from the MSS. in the Bibliotheque du Roi, 
was written ; but if already published, which is doubtful, 
Lebrun de Charmettes does not seem to have referred to 
it ; nor to the * Becueil Historique,' published in 1806, by 
Monsieur Chassard, which is but the maimed verbal 
copy of L'Averdy's work, in which positive documents 
were for the first time brought to light. As Lebrun de 
Charmettes says, 'After all, it is Jeanne d'Arc herself 
who seems to relate her life and plead her own cause,' 
BO carefully were her answers taken down at the trials. 
Her own words are her best history, and her monu- 
ment. She wrote nothing, but she lived, spoke, and 
worked, and died for her faith, which she beheved in to 
the point of martyrdom. How few of us can plead one 
quarter as much ! 



372 APPENDIX, 

Other books on Jeanne cl'Arc are as difficult reading 
as swallowing a wineglass-full of sand. All authors are 
short on the subject of her journey to Chinon ; even 
Wallon only devotes two pages to it ; most of them skip 
over the one hundred and fifty leagues like grasshoppers, 
the rest clear them at a bound. Cuvier-like, one can 
often construct a chain of story on the evidence of 
what must have heen^ as he constructed an organised 
animal from one authentic bone. This journey is a case 
in point, as indeed are many of Jeanne's journeys, for 
she travelled much and kept her eyes open. No one 
has hitherto followed her in her journey from Sully 
to Melun. She is here completely lost to history. 
This is a point that proves the value of the geo- 
graphical treatment of liistory. Monsieur Jollois, in 
his * Abridged History,' calls Monsieur Berriat St. Prix 
remarkable for the science and scope of his researches. 
One is disappointed on reading his work, which has 
been over-praised by the polite flattery of a contempor- 
ary. I thought I was the first to trace the heroine's 
route and follow her step by step through her career : 
but there is nothing new under the sun, and my book 
was nearly finished, the rough copy complete, when I 
discovered Berriat St. Prix was my forerunner in this 
line. 

I flew to consult his work, for instruction, of course, 
yet hoping in my inmost soul he had not preoccupied 
my ground. He had given a map, a poor one, few 
places were marked on it and the rivers ran wrong, 
meandering in lines of beauty at their own sweet will. 
I picked him to pieces. In Berriat St. Prix's map Coudray 
Tower is a long way off in the wrong direction, south- 
ward of Chinon, and in his text he sends this luckless castle 
flying three leagues to the north, beyond even a Chateau 
de Coudrai which has nothing to do "svith Jeanne's 
history. This Tower of Coudray has already been a 
stumbling-block to me with several authors, the father 
of whose errors I had now found. He had also mistaken 
St. Florent-le-Vieil, between Angers and Nantes, for St. 
Florent-les-Saumur, another pitfall for succeeding his- 
torians. From this I opined that Monsieur Berriat St. 
Prix did not know the country, that he chiefly travelled 
in his arm-chair, or slept in the coupe of the diligence. 



APPEJSDIX. 373 

In high glee I still further worried my author and con- 
firmed my opinion that his intention was better than 
his work of the Itinerary : of which he daringly exclaims, 
' Voila un ouvrage entierement neuf !' 

He had the thought of it, I admit, so had I — some 
sixty years later. I think I am the first to walk in 
Jeanne's actual paths, and I can fairly say that my book 
was not hatched in a museum library. Berriat St. Prix 
takes the materialistic view of Jeanne's character, while 
Lebrun de Charmettes looks upon her entirely as an in- 
spired warrior. 

The plates are the most important part of Monsieur 
Jollois' work. He gathered up the current traditions 
of the department of the Meuse, where he superintended 
the erection of Jeanne's monument. 

Mrs. Bray's book is an abridged translation of Henri 
Martin's ' History of France,' flavoured with extracts from 
the 'Chronique de la Pucelle.' 

One might make a genealogical chapter of the writers 
on Jeanne d'Arc something in this manner: Lenglet du 
Fresuoy, son of Bicher ; Petitot, son of Denis Godefroy ; 
Lebrun de Charmettes and Quicherat are parents of 
Wallon, their son and heir, and a daughter. Miss Parr, 
&c., &c. 

My intention has not been to write the life of Jeanne 
d'Arc at all, but to give a general view of the country 
through which she passed, in its present condition ; dwell- 
ing most on the objects upon which her eyes rested, and 
Avhich helped in their measure to form her character, as the 
geographical and strategical features . of the country 
moulded the plan of her campaigns. I do not pretend, 
nor propose to describe the sieges which have been so 
often written of before, and I give no account of the 
great trinls which form the bulk of literature concerning 
the Maid of Orleans. Does anyone care to see what she 
saw, and share the thoughts that may, or must, have 
passed through her mind in viewing so large a portion 
of the fair land she fought and died for'? If so, let 
them follow the route traced in my map, and they will 
find as much varied enjoyment as in any other line of 
travel, with health and the pleasures of sympathy. 



374 APPENDIX. 



GENEALOGICAL TABLE OF WRITERS. 

' Books do contain a progeny of life, as do those who bring them 
forth.' — Milton. 

Perceval de Cagny, 1428; Gui de Laval, 1428; Jean 
Chartier, 1429 ; and most of the other writers of the fifteenth 
century arc given in full in Quicherat's valuable work. Lebrun 
de Charmettes gives Astezan (1435). 

1429. — Jacques Gelu, Archbishop of Tours, and in 1427 of 
Embrun, wrote his treatise on the Maid in 1429- It is MS. 
in the library of the late King of France (1812) Biblio- 
theque Nationale. 

1431. — Monstrelet lived at Cambrai. Hume copies Mon- 
strelet through Rapin Thoyras. Shakespeare follows current 
tradition inimical to the Maid. 

1661. — Denis Godefroy, historiographe de France. 

1714 — 78. — Voltaire follows a vicious fancy. 

1753. — Richer's unpublished life of Jeanne d'Arc is the first 
composed from authentic sources ; from him comes Lenglet du 
Fresnoy. He says of Rapin Thoyras, the most esteemed his- 
torian of Jeanne d'Arc in England, that he had not seen the 
proces of justification, but only Monstrelet and not the other 
historians of Jeanne's time. 

1791. — L'Averdy, Academician, declares Lenglet du Fresnoy's 
work tres mediocre. 

1798. — A vision of the Maid of Orleans. South ey. 

1801. — Schiller's drama of the Maid of Orleans. Entirely 
fictitious, though he had read L'Averdy. 

1806. — R. Southey published his epic poem of Joan of Arc. 

1812. — G. Ann Grave abridged and partially translated 
Lenglet du Fresnoy. 

1815. — Chalmers' ' Biographical Dictionary.' The article 
might then have been better written. 

1817. — Berriat St. Prix follows Tripaut and L'Averdy, 
whose work he calls ' tres precieux,' 

1817. — Lebrun de Charmettes published his fine work. 

1819. — Petitot (published 1825), follows J. Chartier, Denis 
Godefroy, &c. He devotes more than half of the eighth 
volume of his ' Memoirs relating to the History of France from 
Philip Augustus to the beginning of the seventeenth century,' to 
Jeanne d'Arc. 

1821. — Jollois' ' Abridged History of Jeanne d'Arc' He 
follows L'Averdy and Lebrun de Charmettes. He says Chaus- 
sard's ' Recueil historique et complet ' is only an extract of 
L'Averdy's work. 



APPENDIX. 375 

1825. — Carlyle's 'Life of Schiller,' first edition 1825, second 
edition 1845, third edition 1872 : treats at some length of Joan 
of Arc. 

1841. — Quicherat's great work published. He prints the 
writers of the fifteenth century in the original text with notes. 

1848. — Henri Martin devotes a great part of the seventh 
volume of his ' liistoire de France ' to Jeanne d'Arc. He 
follows Lebrun de Charm ettcs and his own fevered brain. He 
has written a valuable history of France, however. 

1851 . — Gorton's ' Biographical Dictionary ' follows Chalmers in 
its calm, its errors, and its impartial views ; though the earliest 
Avriter is ^naturally) the longest and wrongest. 

1860. — Wallon's work crowned by the French Academy. 
The edition of 1876 is beautifully embellished. 

1866. — Miss Parr's ' Life and Death of Joan of Arc' com- 
piled from Quicherat, Lebrun de Charmettes, and Wallon. 
Other writers are mere romancers or rhapsodists ; nobody's 
children. 

1882. — Joseph Fabre. His thin duodecimo ' Life of Jeanne 
d'Arc ' is one of a series of small books called, ' Ecole de I'homme 
et du Citoyen.' This book is a familiarised Wallon without the 
religious feeling. Though an ardent admirer of Jeanne, he 
shows her in black and white, politically and patriotically only. 
Religion coloured Jeanne's whole life ; thus it is a false view, a pen 
and ink sketch of a person whose chief beauty lies in her colour. 

1885. — Florence Caddy follows object lessons and the cross- 
country roads. Which is her apology for putting forward the 
hundredth work on Joan of Arc. 

This list and my sheaf of British Museum tickets 
represent a considerable amount of reading (much of it 
is in old French v^ith antiquated type), besides a number 
of books read in France at the recommendation of the 
Abbe Bourgaut and others. Yet I trust my book will 
be found to smell of the hayfields rather than of the 
reading-room. I have sought my building materials in 
their native quarries, in museums only the mortar that 
holds them together. 

' The gradual building-up of primitive history is, in 
my eyes, to the full as interesting and as fruitful a 
process as the extension of physical sciences which 
attracts a thousandfold more attention.' — W. E. 
Gladstone. 

THR END. 



LONDON : PRINTED RY DUNCAN MACDONALD, BLENHPHM HOrSE. 



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